A 56 year old male truck driver died from injuries suffered when the truck where he was a passenger left the roadway, crossed the median, struck a guardrail, crossed the opposing road way, and struck a bridge approach and bridge guardrail. The incident site was an off-ramp location. The tractor cab fell from the highway to impact against the sloped concrete berm below. It was pulled back onto the highway by the still connected trailer, then disconnected from the trailer and overturned in the median separating east-bound from west-bound traffic. The trailer continued to skid sideways, coming to a stop approximately 100' beyond the tractor. The driver of the truck was the victim's wife. She was transported by ambulance to a hospital in the area and then by life-flight to an out of state hospital. The victim was trapped inside the tractor and was dead at the scene. The husband-and-wife team were self-employed outside the state and were hauling refrigerated foods inside the state. The vehicle was west-bound, having travelled through a high desert region in the dark over a wide, sparsely-travelled, well maintained stretch of Interstate highway. The weather was clear, the road was dry, and the dawn was breaking with the sun rising behind them. In this high desert, the road is often visible for several miles in either direction, leading to a phenomenon described as "highway hypnosis". Employers may be able to minimize the potential for occurrence of this type of incident through the following precautions: 1. Insure that all long-haul drivers are in good physical condition and maintain eating and sleeping habits that promote safety. 2. Provide periodic training for all long-haul drivers in defensive driving techniques.
Region-8; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Transportation-industry; Transportation-workers; Truck-drivers; Trucking; Sleep-deprivation; Circadian-rhythms