Recently, the Indiana Gazette posted a story about the dangers of tired truck drivers in order to raise awareness about this very serious issue. This month, a truck and car accident injured the famous Saturday Night Live actor Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian that was in the same limousine. After the terrible accident that made headlines in major newspapers, the authorities in Washington began to pay more attention to the very real threat of tired truckers out on the road.
Many truck drivers want to reach their destination as fast as possible. In order to make that happen, they will forego sleep. As they get tired, they often refuse to pull over and try to push through. In some cases, the truckers’ bodies become overwhelmed, and they may find that they drift off to sleep while still operating their large vehicle. This can lead to devastating collisions resulting in death or serious injury.
The Tracy Morgan Car Accident
Tracy Morgan and several comedian friends were in a limousine when they were struck by a Wal-Mart semi-truck on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury Township. The truck driver had not slept in the past 24 hours and plowed into the back of the limousine as a result of his fatigue. The truck driver failed to slow despite the brake lights ahead, and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. The big rig smashed into the back of the Mercedes limo bus, causing serious injuries and one death.
Statistics About Tired Truckers
Every year, nearly 4,000 people die in truck crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that driver fatigue is a leading factor in these crashes. The trucking industry has been sparring with safety advocates and unions about driver hours for years. Safety advocates hope that Tracy Morgan’s devastating accident will help to wake individuals to the importance of allowing drivers to sleep adequate amounts of time.
A Proposed Change to the Federal Trucking Regulations
At present, authorities have suggested a change to the federal trucking regulations which would let drivers put as many as 82 hours a week behind the wheel. Currently, the limit is set at 60 hours or 70 hours depending on the kind of company employing the driver. The Obama Administration and safety advocates heartily oppose this new change, while the trucking industry affirms the change.
At present, there are some laws in place which help to advocate for trucker safety. Truckers must take a long weekend every other weekend in order to account for the rest periods required. If you want more information about tired trucker accidents, or if you have been injured in a truck accident in Indiana, call Parr Richey Obremskey Frandsen & Patterson LLP for assistance!