Colin Shaw, 70, left Steven Hurst, 45, with a severe brain injury after crashing into the rear of Mr Hurst's van as it waited in traffic near Newark in May 2018.
Mr Hurst, of Retford, who was driving the van, was left with a fractured skull, a brain injury, internal bleeding and memory loss after his vehicle was struck by the HGV, which was travelling at 56mph. He was hospitalised for two weeks and lost his sight in one eye.
Shaw had the HGV in cruise control and claimed he had suffered a sneezing fit at the wheel - but admitted he should have spotted the queue of traffic sooner and applied his brakes.
He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Nottingham Crown Court on September 28 and was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence.
After the sentencing Mr Hurst's family said: “We urge everyone to remain focused whilst they are driving, especially when driving vehicles of this size as any lack of concentration for any length of time can cause catastrophic consequences and change a family’s life forever - as we have sadly come to know over the last three years.
"The collision changed our lives and we as a family urge all road users to pay attention on the roads ”
During Shaw's police interview he explained how he had travelled along the stretch of the A1 before and and described how he began to sneeze and then looked up and heard a bang as he hit the victim's van.
Shaw admitted that he didn’t understand why he only applied his brakes at the last minute and or why he had perceived the situation differently to other drivers.
Shaw, of The Drive, Bingley, Bradford, was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work and to abide by a curfew for six months and to take an extended retest.
Following the sentencing, case investigator Sophie Law, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It’s the responsibility of every driver to ensure the safety of themselves and other road users.
“Shaw could see traffic up ahead of him but failed to read the road correctly. This had devastating consequences for the van driver he ploughed into.
“We urge drivers to take care on the roads at all times, to avoid devastating incidents such as this from happening.”