An Ohio woman died Wednesday in a horrific tractor-trailer accident in Circleville, Ohio. The truck driver is facing charges for allegedly tampering with evidence. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Amy Schneider of South Bloomfield was killed in the accident and the truck driver was listed as 41-year old Tracy Ferrell of Michigan.
Ferrell was driving north on Route 23 at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning when he failed to brake at a red light. Ferrell’s semi-truck plowed into Schneider’s vehicle and two other cars that were sitting at the intersection.
Schneider’s vehicle was struck first, crushing her small car and pinning it under the semi. The truck and car combo then pushed into another vehicle, which crashed into an SUV, causing it to overturn. Police said Schneider was pronounced dead on the scene and that the other two drivers were injured and taken to local hospitals. They were identified as: Francis Shirley, 49, the driver of the SUV, and Karen Kindle, the driver of the second car.
According to reports, Ferrell had removed a page from the driver’s log book and attempted to hide it from authorities. Police arrested him for allegedly tampering with evidence and believe he fell asleep at the wheel, however the investigation is ongoing.
Driver fatigue remains problematic
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) studies detailing the relationship between sleep deprivation and the prevalence of trucking accidents have shown the longer a driver is on the road without rest and sleep, the greater the likelihood he or she will be involved in an accident.
In an effort to combat this problem, the FMCSA recently issued new rules to address safety concerns. The rules reduce the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week to 70 hours. Under the old hours of service rule, drivers could work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The rule also prohibits drivers from driving more than eight hours at a time without taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Additionally, drivers may not drive more than 11 hours each day.
Drivers must also keep detailed logs regarding their time behind the wheel. Federal regulations require all drivers to record their hours, either manually or using an electronic device. Even though rules require drivers to keep accurate driving accounts, some trucking companies break the law by encouraging their employees to maintain false (or misleading) log books in order to meet deadlines and boost profits.
“Semi crushes car on Rt. 23, killing woman near Circleville” by Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, September 1, 2013.