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Asleep at the Wheel: The Danger of Fatigued Truck Drivers

In November 2012, Maryland residents Karen Babka and her daughter Kaitlin were driving east on Interstate 70 in western Pennsylvania. Unknown to them, 45-year-old Yevgeniy Bugreyev was traveling westbound on the same road in a tractor-trailer loaded with rock salt. Within moments, a collision left Ms. Babka and her daughter dead and three others seriously injured. 

In July of last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted regulations to reduce the risk of collisions caused by fatigued truck drivers. These rule revisions include: 

  • The maximum number of driving hours a driver can operate a semi-truck was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours per week. The 12-hour reduction was less than safety advocates had hoped.
  • Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after the first eight hours of a driving shift.
  • Drivers and trucking companies who exceed the limitations by three hours are subject to fines and civil penalties. 

Driving for South Carolina-based DC Transport, Mr. Bugreyev is a Russian national who resides in Sacramento, California. On the morning of the collision, the fully loaded truck driven by Mr. Bugreyev crossed a grassy median into the eastbound lanes, striking the car driven by Ms. Babka almost head-on. The truck overturned, ultimately coming to rest on the vehicle driven by Ms. Babka, after it had been pushed through a guardrail and into a tree. Another vehicle carrying two women and a child was unable to stop and struck the truck as it stretched across eastbound traffic. 

Investigation of the truck log found nine discrepancies in the time Mr. Bugreyev claimed to be sleeping in previous days but was instead driving. In January of this year, Mr. Bugreyev was found guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide. 

Drowsy driving kills. If injured by a distracted or drowsy motorist, Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. provides experienced representation to pursue compensation for your losses.

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