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Semi Truck Driver Falls Asleep at the Wheel, Causing Eight-Vehicle Accident in Gainesville

A truck driver ran into a guardrail at 4 a.m. Sunday, triggering a crash involving eight vehicles, the Gainesville Sun reported July 12. Nobody was seriously injured in the crash, which involved a total of two semi trucks and six cars traveling in both directions on Interstate 75. However, the accident caused a truck to roll over and sprayed debris across the highway, backing up traffic throughout Sunday. Reckless driving charges are pending against the truck driver, Yerany Guelmes of Naples, who the Florida Highway Patrol said fell asleep at the wheel.

According to the article, Guelmes was southbound on I-75 in a Freightliner when he fell asleep and hit the center guardrail. The accident caused the tractor-trailer to roll over and sent pieces of the truck flying into both lanes. A northbound truck driver, Erik Stephen Riis, then ran over an axle and lost control, causing him to hit the guardrail and send debris into the southbound lane. Six other vehicles were damaged as well, but the article does not explain how. Both truckers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, and clearing the wreckage took much of Sunday, slowing traffic south of Gainesville.

As a Broward County trucking accident lawyer, I am interested in this crash in part because the FHP believes the cause was Guelmes falling asleep at the wheel. A lot of publicity has been focused on the problem of truck drivers taking amphetamines and other drugs, but in many cases, the root cause is plain old sleepiness. Federal law limits the amount of time truck drivers may drive without taking a break to sleep, but these laws are routinely ignored in the trucking industry. Truckers frequently have their pay tied to making on-time deliveries, which means they have an incentive to ignore those laws and stay on the road. In the worst cases, that can lead to devastating accidents caused by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel of an 80,000-pound big rig.

Trucking accidents are some of the most serious traffic accidents out there. In a serious accident between a large commercial truck and a car, the truck’s much greater size and weight means it’s likely to literally crush the car. Trucking accident victims frequently suffer wrongful deaths or permanent disabilities such as brain damage, paralysis and severe burns. If this has happened to you or someone you love because of a trucker’s irresponsible choices behind the wheel, you have the right to hold that trucker, and sometimes the trucking company, legally liable for the results. In a Pompano Beach semi truck accident lawsuit, you can claim compensation for the loss of a loved one, a disability or a serious injury, along with money to pay all of your medical bills and other costs.

If you’re considering a West Palm Beach tractor-trailer accident lawsuit, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To learn more at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call our main office in Pembroke Pines today at (954) 431-8100.

Cohn, Smith & Cohn offers free, confidential consultations. To set one up, please contact us online or call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100.

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