Jun 11, 2014 - Truck Accidents

A new debate has now entered the conversation regarding commercial truck drivers operating their vehicles while exhausted. The question is who should be held accountable for truck drivers that feel compelled to drive tired in order to earn a living? A recent New Jersey truck accident that killed one person and injured three others is now getting a lot of attention due to a celebrity’s involvement. Actor Tracy Morgan was inside a limo van that was struck from behind by a Walmart tractor-trailer on June 6.

Inside the limo van, one person was killed and three others seriously injured, including Morgan, after the limo van was flipped over from the truck’s impact. The driver of the truck, a 24-year-old man from Georgia, was later charged with death by auto and four counts of assault while driving.

As the law currently stands, operators of commercial tractor-trailers are not supposed to work longer than 14 hours each day. They are also restricted from actually driving any longer than 11 hours during any single stretch of time. Obviously, the regulations are intended to keep truck drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. Police haven’t yet gone so far as to say that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel, but they did mention prolonged sleep deprivation in their charging documents.

What is interesting is that sleep deprivation can have the same effect as drinking alcohol in some cases. According to a study noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a driver who stays awake for a full 24 hours is considered just as impaired as a person deemed legally drunk in every state in the country.

Victims of truck accidents should know that there are legal ways to obtain the logbooks drivers are required to keep. Those logs can show if a driver is working within the legal limits. If not, that driver, and the company who employs him or her, could be liable for the victim’s medical costs and other damages or losses.

Source: NBC, “Walmart: Driver in Tracy Morgan Crash Operated Within Federal Hours” Vince Lattanzio and David Chang, Jun. 10, 2014

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