Three people — Joshua Hayden, 21, Andy Rodriguez, 23 and Alisa Harvaph, 28 — were injured in a San Diego County truck accident the morning of June 17, 2009. According to a City News Service report, Hayden was heading south on the 5 Freeway near Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad when he crashed into a big rig truck parked on the shoulder. California Highway Patrol officials said Hayden fell asleep at the wheel of the Chevy bobtail truck he was driving, drifted off the freeway and plowed into the back of the tractor-trailer whose driver, Rodriguez, had pulled over to make a cell phone call moments before the big rig crash. Harvaph suffered serious leg injuries and the two truck drivers escaped without major personal injuries. All three were taken to an area hospital.

I’m glad that this truck accident did not result in any major personal injuries or fatalities. Based on the news report, the female passenger of the Chevy truck, Harvaph, was the one who suffered the most serious injuries of the three injured victims. I wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.

Truck crashes such as these and additional near misses happen many times each day totaling up to thousands of incidents each year. Many of them are unreported or officially unexplained due to a lack of police training and objective roadside and postmortem tests for fatigue. Steps need to be taken to combat drowsy driving, and improvements will come only with legal action, awareness campaigns, and better data collection and reporting of fatigue-related crashes.

While most of us are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, many are still in the dark about driving while sleepy. However, like alcohol or drugs, fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s annual Sleep in America polls, more than half of America’s drivers — that’s more than 100 million people — admit to driving while drowsy. From this same report nearly two out of five or 32 million people say they have actually fallen asleep at the wheel within the past year. Most of the car accidents that involve drowsy driving are serious or fatal. Unlike a driver who is impaired by alcohol, a driver who has fallen asleep finds himself unable to take any action to avoid the car collision. In fact, the most common characteristic of a sleep-related car accident is the lack of skid marks, which means the driver took no action to prevent the accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 100,000 accidents involving sleepy drivers are reported each year. These crashes kill more than 1,500 people each year in the United States and injure about 71,000. The injuries and fatalities result in over $12.5 billion in diminished productivity and property loss.

Whatever your situation, if you have suffered serious personal injuries that you believe was caused by a negligent driver, please call experienced San Diego car accident attorneys to find out more information about your legal rights and options. The best personal injury attorneys will always provide a free consultation and case evaluation.