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Charges Laid In Truck Accident

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Madison, MNThe driver of a semitruck who was involved in a fatal truck accident in 2005 faces federal charges alleging he falsely logged his sleep hours. The driver had been acquitted of all criminal charges related to his trucking accident in a separate trial.

The accident killed 5 people on a high school bus and injured dozens more. Following the accident, the driver, Michael J. Kozlowski, was charged with, among other things, negligent homicide but acquitted of all charges last year. However, a federal grand jury indicted Kozlowski earlier this month for not following federal regulations limiting the hours commercial truck drivers can be behind the wheel.

Truck StopAccording to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Kozlowski falsely logged 10 hours of sleep on 12 different occasions and did not fill out his log for five days before the accident. According to reports, he fell asleep while driving his truck and drifted off the shoulder. Kozlowski tried to steer back onto the road but his truck flipped over and was hit by a school bus. The NTSB listed fatigue and possibly falling asleep at the wheel as possible causes for the accident.

If he is convicted on the federal charges, Kozlowski could spend up to 5 years in prison for each count. He is charged on 12 counts.

In addition to the federal charges, Kozlowski faces lawsuits from the family members of people killed in the accident. Those include the bus driver, the high school band's director, his wife, their granddaughter and a student-teacher. Lawsuits have also been filed against Whole Foods, the company that employed Kozlowski at the time of the accident.

Meanwhile, in a different incident, the driver of a truck involved in a fatal accident has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for vehicular homicide. The driver of the truck allegedly drove through a stop sign and collided at a high speed with a vehicle attempting to turn left. Tests showed the truck driver had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash. Family members of the victim say they are upset that the truck driver only received a 10 day sentence in the accident, which took the life of a 45 year old mother of 3.

According to the truck driver's lawyers, he had no previous criminal record and had 2 million commercial miles with no accidents prior to this collision.

In Florida, a 79 year old woman has died after an accident involving a loose tractor trailer tire. The tire had come off the front axle of the truck and traveled off the highway into a rest area, where the woman was hit and killed. Officials are investigating the accident.

Every day there are new reports about accidents involving tractor trailers. Some of the accidents are single-vehicle and do not result in any injury, although they do tie up traffic and aggravate other drivers. However, many of the accidents involve serious injuries and even fatalities. And, while most people involved in the trucking industry are honest, hardworking people who are just trying to earn a living, there are those who cut corners, putting other people's safety at risk. Truck drivers can also feel a lot of pressure to have goods delivered in a short time—leading them falsify their logs so that it appears that they have enough rest time, when in fact they do not.

Tractor trailers are being used more and more frequently to haul goods. The unfortunate result is that there are more and more accidents involving semi trucks. Perhaps, if more lawsuits are filed following truck accidents, the industry will be forced to take proper action to ensure these types of accidents don't continue.


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