Catastrophic Bridge Collapse reveals importance of sleep for Truckers as NTSB investigates sleep records
By Martin Hill
May 30, 2013

By now everybody has heard about the amazing bridge collapse along Interstate 5 in Washington State last week. As a business owner engaged in interstate commerce across these 48 states, I was interested in the details of who was driving, what company it was, what were they hauling, where they came from and where they were going, and if the driver was charged. It seems like a no-brainer that a commercial trucker who hits a bridge should obviously be charged. In my view, this is one of the few legitimate times in which 'the state' could serve a useful purpose. If you understood how often truckers and their rigs were inspected, scrutinized, prosecuted, and charged exhorbitant fees for the most petty minutia and infractions, you'd understand why hitting a bridge with a big rig is a completely avoidable offense which should indeed be prosecuted. A bit of research into the follow-up of this disaster has revealed some very interesting information about how the federal government investigators are currently looking into the SLEEP RECORDS of the commercial driver as well as the pilot vehicle driver involved in the Washington State Bridge Collapse. As I posted on my website this morning:

Well well well, whatd'ya know. The Feds are investigating 'THE LOGS AND REST HISTORY" of the commercial driver who hit the bridge and caused it to collapse. They are also checking the REST HISTORY of the pilot vehicle driver who worked with the truck.

Why do you think that the feds would 'check the rest history' of those people?

Because the FEDS MANDATE that commercial drivers get rest. They do this because rest is necessary and required. Commercial drivers must have at least 10 hours rest between shifts. After 10 hours off duty in the sleepr berth, shifts can last no longer than 14 hours, 11 of it driving.

What if the driver had not rested as required by law? His ass would be in PRISON, that's what.

So, of course you know why I make my point.

Because the very pigs whose duty it is to supposedly enforce their own 'laws' actually violate the law daily, repeatedly, again and again, by waking up off duty sleeping drivers illegally. Who knows how many of the motorist deaths, most of which are proven to be caused by fatigue in commercial crash cases, have been caused by cops who violate safety laws such as the two Texas Troopers did in this federal civil rights case.

In my case, when two rogue criminal Texas Troopers illegally woke me up and demanded ID when I was sleeping off-duty in the sleeper berth during my federally mandated 10-hour sleep time, I filed both a state and federal civil rights complaint. The Texas Department of Public Safety immediately admitted wrongdoing in writing on behalf of the two officers, only one month after the internal affairs complaint was filed in November 2010. The admission letter, dated December 20, 2010 and signed by Captain Kenneth Plunk of the Waco Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, stated that "corrective action was needed" against both officers and that "additional training has been taken." [Here is the postmarked envelope the letter came in.] I then sued them in federal Court for civil rights violations. In their initial response to the suit filed by their lawyers, the two defendants feebily tried to deny wrongdoing and denied threatening to arrest me that night, despite the fact that they were both recorded and had their boss throw them both under the bus immediately. Here is an excerpt from an article about the NTSB bridge collapse investigation. This is not to imply that the truck driver in the Washington accident violated sleep rules, but rather to emphasize the importance of sleep rules, according to the feds themselves; and that law enforcement will prosecute anyone who does not comply with the very important sleep rules:

Skagit River Bridge has history of strikes from overheight vehicles bridge-has-history.html
Published: May 27, 2013

"We have requested drug and alcohol testing be conducted," Hersman said. "The NTSB have also requested cellphone records from the truck driver and pilot car operator."

The NTSB will inspect the truck driver's logs, medical history and rest history for both drivers, she said. The pilot car, a Dodge Ram pickup truck, had a height pole mounted on the front right corner of the truck. The NTSB and State Patrol have not examined the pilot car, she said. Hersman said it is the responsibility of the motor carrier to verify that its load will clear all bridges.

Here is the video of a Texas trooper waking up a trucker and demanding ID, admitting that he does it all the time, and will do it again. The psycho cop, now a defendant in federal court, later perjured himself and denied that he ever threatened to arrest the sleeping trucker, despite threatening him endlessly with arrest while being recorded:

As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration points out in their document Interruptions to your sleep, "Disruptions compromise both the quantity and quality of sleep and keep you from experiencing continuous, restorative sleep so necessary for performance, safety, and health. They can be caused by an acute or chronic medical condition; a bright, noisy or uncomfortable environment; or awakenings caused by other people."

The National Center for Biotechnology Information states "Because sleep disruption may cause fatigue and deterioration of performance, a study was conducted to evaluate the association between sleeper-berth use in two periods and tractor-trailer driver fatality."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration affirms the importance of hours of service records and maintaining proper sleep breaks in one of their many DRIVER FATIGUE REPORTS: "Trucks are a vital component of the U.S. economy. That contribution comes from moving raw and finished products, as well as some bulk goods, long distances. Because of the long distances and long driving times involved in these contributions to our economy, driver hours of service (HOS) have been regulated for more than 70 years."

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) IMPACT OF SLEEPER BERTH USAGE ON DRIVER FATIGUE: FINAL REPORT states: "Driver fatigue is recognized as a major factor in accidents involving long-haul truck drivers. One way in which long-haul truck drivers decrease their fatigue level is through the use of tractors equipped with sleeper berth units. However even with these units, the quality and quantity of sleep that a driver obtains may not equal what they would receive if they were sleeping at home. With that in mind, the primary goal of this project was to assess the impact that sleeper berth usage has on operator alertness... There were a number of findings as part of this study that indicated that the quality and depth of sleep was worse on the road, particularly for team drivers. Team drivers have significantly more sleep disturbances than do single drivers. In addition, for team drivers who sleep while the vehicle is in motion, factors such as vibration and noise affected their sleep..."

The U.S. White House states: "Other estimates of fatigue involvement in truck crashes are higher. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimated that driver fatigue is a factor in 31% of all fatal-to-driver heavy truck crashes, and found fatigue to be a factor in even a higher percentage of all truck crashes investigated by NTSB. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated driver fatigue to be a factor in over 30% of all heavy truck crashes.

Regarding the Washington State Bridge Collapse, noted: "Local news and the Associated Press quoted a driver on the scene: 'I saw the truck strike the right corner of the bridge. It almost tipped the truck over but it came back down. It tipped it up to about a 30 degree angle to the left and it came back down on its wheels and almost instantaneously behind that I saw girders falling in my rearview mirror.'"

Here is a picture of the truck that hit the bridge in Washington. The following article has info on the driver and company he works for:

Alberta trucker involved in Washington state bridge collapse
5/24/13 "A local truck driver is shaken but otherwise unhurt after a Washington state bridge collapsed behind his tractor-trailer on Thursday, sending cars and drivers plummeting into the cold river below. William D. Scott, 41, of Spruce Grove, just west of Edmonton, made it across the Skagit River Bridge just after 7 p.m. "Our truck went through the bridge, went over the bridge, and the bridge came down behind him," said Ed Scherbinski, vice-president of Mullen Trucking, the Calgary-based trucking company that Scott was working for.

The state police report says the southbound truck struck a girder, bringing down the concrete and steel structure.Two other vehicles -- a Dodge Ram truck towing a travel trailer and a Subaru Crosstrek -- both went into the Skagit River.... "It's still under investigation so anything (charges), civil or criminal, we won't know until the investigation is complete," state trooper Mark Francis said. Scherbinski said he could not comment on any details of the incident except to say the investigation has been taken over by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Mullen has sent their own investigation team to Washington, as well. "There was no serious injuries and that's the best thing," Scherbinski said. "We can replace trucks and trailers and bridges, but if someone ever God forbid got killed, that's too much." His office has been in touch with Scott and could only say he is shaken up but otherwise unhurt. The bridge, built in 1954 as part of the Interstate-5 highway linking Vancouver and Seattle, is one of 356 bridges in the state listed as "structurally deficient" in the National Bridge Inventory Database.


NTSB: No clearance signage at Skagit River bridge 208948511.html

Hersman said investigators have interviewed the truck driver, and he described that his first indication of anything being wrong was when he heard and felt contact with the bridge. The driver pulled over and was told by another motorist that a portion of the bridge had fallen. The 41-year-old driver said he had met the driver of the pilot car at the Canadian border and made arrangements with her to notify him of any problems via radio communication. He said he followed the pilot car and both were in the right lane as they crossed the bridge.

"The truck driver also reported that there was another commercial vehicle, traveling in the left lane, as he was on the bridge," Hersman said. Hersman said the driver had a permit for a load measuring 15 feet, 9 inches and he reported measuring the height of his load multiple times along the route. But Hersman said the bridge portal is higher in the middle than it is on the outside corners near the shoulders. "The permit was for 15 feet, 9 inches. This bridge, at its lowest point, the clearance is 14 feet, 6 inches. The bridge clearance, at its lowest point, that's on the outside of the bridge near the shoulder - and as I mentioned it’s an elliptical bridge so you have more clearance towards the middle of the bridge - those clearances, those heights, are not posted on the bridge, and so it is the responsibility of the operator, solely to determine if they can clear through all of the structures on their route," said Hersman. Washington state does not require vertical clearance to be posted unless the clearance is 14 feet, 4 inches or less, Hersman said. Officials plan to interview the driver of the pilot car.


NTSB to interview driver of pilot car ahead of bridge-collapsing truck of-bridge-collapsing-truck-209270001.html

"The NTSB says both vehicles and the camper trailer that plunged into river when the bridge collapsed have been removed from the water. The vehicles are being inspected and the agency says its investigators hope to gain impact forces data from the air bag modules on each. In addition, several bridge structural span frames were removed from the water Monday and Tuesday -- about 2/3 of the debris so far. Once all of the spans are removed, they will be inspected in the field by an NTSB metallurgist.

One new item unveiled was that a mechanical inspection of the accident truck found one flaw that would have put the truck out of service, but did not contribute to the accident. The agency says they are reviewing several surveillance videos of the crash, interviewing additional witnesses, and their work on scene will continue for several more days. Also on site Tuesday was Rep. Rick Larsen, who reiterated the bridge is vital to the West Coast commerce and that more than 70 percent of truck traffic crossing the Canadian-U.S. border ends up south of the Skagit River. "That traffic itself generates about $14 billion a year in economic activity in exports and imports," Larsen said. "There will be an impact." To soften the blow a little bit, Gov. Jay Inslee directed that the state Department of Commerce release $150,000 that will be used to support marketing and promotion efforts.

FAIR USE NOTICE: The above may be copyrighted material, and the use of it on may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available on a non-profit basis for educational and discussion purposes only. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 USC ? 107. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,, Republic Broadcasting Network, WorldNetDaily,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

web analytics