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Sleeping is best done in a bed, not behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. That is what one truck driver recently found out after dozing off and causing an early morning truck accident about seven miles west of downtown Oklahoma City.

The accident occurred just south portion of the Rockwell Bridge, which crosses over Interstate 40, when the truck driver’s tractor-trailer collided with a car, according to Oklahoma City Police and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The incident sent the car driver to a local hospital with injuries that were described as non-life-threatening. The driver of the truck unit was unharmed. Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers at the scene allege that the driver of the tractor-trailer fell asleep behind the wheel and caused the truck accident.

Long-haul truck drivers typically work irregular hours, which makes it difficult for them to acquire enough rest to be completely alert and attentive behind the wheel. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that 44 percent of drivers rarely or never have enough sleep the nights before they work.

Because fatigued drivers are the source of many accidents, the trucking industry is regulated at both the federal and state levels. The Department of Transportation, for example, recently announced a new rule that will requires truckers to take a break after every eight hours of work. Any violation with the new regulation could mean fines for both drivers and their companies.

The consequences for any Oklahoma driver injured because of a truck driver’s fatigue, inattention or negligence can be catastrophic and deadly. Even if injuries do not threaten a victim’s life, the incident can be both traumatic and lead to unanticipated medical expenses. Fortunately, a driver can seek compensation for any damages caused by a negligent truck driver by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: KOCO, “OHP: Sleeping tractor-trailer driver collides with car on I-40,” Laura Hendrix, Feb. 28, 2014