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A 19 year-old was severely injured when she became the victim of an 18 wheeler accident caused by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

Texas-based news outlet KVUE reported that a lawsuit has been filed by the young woman against the driver and trucking company alleging that negligence led to the accident.

The article reports that Lindsey P. was driving home after spending the day out with her mother when traffic stopped on the highway and she was hit from behind, causing the 18 wheeler accident.

Lindsey recalls her initial reaction to the accident, saying “I just felt… everything went black and I could hear the glass breaking in the air getting sucked inside the vehicle.”

Lindsay was able to call the police and when they arrived at the scene, the driver responsible for the semi-truck accident told the officers that he had fallen asleep while driving.

“He crumbled the car and he’s actually the one that pushed me over to the side of the road,” Lindsey stated.

According to the report, the police officers at the scene discussed the driver’s confession to falling asleep, and it was captured on body camera footage. When black box records were obtained from the semi truck, they indicated that the driver had been going 50 miles an hour at the time of the crash.

Lindsey’s lawyer stated that Lindsey “was the brake” and that “the truck driver didn’t start breaking until the impact happened.”

The lawsuit alleges that the 18 wheeler accident was caused by the potential sleep apnea of the semi truck driver and could have been prevented had he been tested for the disorder.

“Our client is likely going to experience lifelong and permanent complications because of a bad decision on behalf of the trucking company,” Lindsey’s lawyer told KVUE.

He went on to say “28 percent of all truck drivers, according to an FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) study, are vulnerable for sleep apnea. That means a little bit more than one in four drivers out there have problems getting a good night’s rest and that affects their ability to operate a motor vehicle.”

In fact, some trucking companies are already making sleep apnea testing mandatory, and it is a hot topic in the trucking industry. Currently, the federal guidelines have not made testing mandatory.

A study from Harvard has indicated that drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are five times more likely to have a preventable 18 wheeler accident than those who do not have a sleep apnea diagnosis. The study also concluded that approximately 20 percent of all 18 wheeler accident reports stem from drowsy or fatigued driving.

Lindsey states that her accident is “the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through.” Following the 18 wheeler accident, Lindsey has had to use a wheelchair for more than a month due to back and neck pain caused by the crash. 

The president of the Texas Trucking Association, John Esparza, told KVUE that it is difficult to find and hire qualified drivers and that he is not against any regulations that would make driving safer for all parties involved. He stated that before testing requirements are made mandatory, additional development is necessary to ensure their validity.

If you or a loved one was injured in an 18 wheeler accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, contact the experienced attorneys at McDonald Worley for a FREE case evaluation.