Driving while exhausted has been likened to driving while intoxicated. Some studies suggest it is actually even more debilitating to drive on no sleep than it is to get behind the wheel after a couple drinks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) clearly understands the danger that lurks in fatigue as well, seeing as how they have created regulation after regulation to curb how long a truck driver can be on the road in a given shift or work week. And still, stories arise every year about devastating truck accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers.
Tracy Morgan’s Truck Accident Linked to Fatigue
Last year, a news stories spread across the media when popular comedian and actor Tracy Morgan was involved in a catastrophic accident with a Walmart big rig. In the collision that took place on the New Jersey Turnpike, another comedian, Mr. James McNair, was fatally wounded and several others were seriously injured. Since the Walmart truck plowed into the back of their stopped vehicle, it was assumed that the truck driver must have somehow been to blame. But what would cause him to crash into traffic at nearly full speed?
After a lengthy investigation, it was determined that truck driver fatigue was the leading cause – if not the only cause – of the accident. The trucker had been on the road for more than 28 hours at the time of the collision. Regulations typically prohibit any amount beyond 14 hours, which is arguably a long time already.
(You may read a full article from The New York Times on Tracy Morgan’s accident.)
What is Being Done to Prevent Truck Accidents?
Even though truck driver fatigue is a clear and present danger on American highways, the fight to regulate it is an uphill one. Earlier this year, the Senate passed a bill that allowed some truck drivers to be exempt from regulations, depending on what, where, and why they were carrying freight. Members of the FMCSA were understandably displeased.
Until more ground is gained to ensure the safety of motorists in the presence of commercial trucks, it will be up to civil litigators to take up the mantle of protecting the rights of those injured in truck accidents.
At Whitley Law Firm, our Raleigh truck accident lawyers can take the fight to negligent and reckless truckers, and the parent companies who allow them to behave in such careless ways, all on your behalf. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you in a free initial consultation.