Some of you may have heard news reports or read an article online about “Saturday Night Live” comedian Tracy Morgan’s accident. Morgan was in a limo bus with several other people on the New Jersey Turnpike when a truck rear-ended their vehicle. Morgan and three other people were seriously injured. The driver of the truck had been up for twenty-four hours and did not see that the traffic in front of him was slowing down. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by automobile.
This accident has recently started a debate about truck driving safety. If you or someone you care about was injured in an accident and you believe that driving regulations might have been violated, then you should speak to a truck accident and personal injury lawyer with the Higgins Firm. We will help answer any questions you may have and make sure you receive compensation for what you have suffered.
The main issue in the case was whether or not the driver was complying with federal rest regulations for truck drivers. Beginning in July of 2013, truck drivers have had restrictions of fourteen hour work days with a minimum of eleven hours of driving. Truck drivers also must have at the very least ten hours off to sleep between their shifts. According to reports, Wal-mart, the truck driver’s employer at the time of the accident, stated that even though it is claimed that the driver was awake for twenty-four hours it was not specified whether the driver was working when he is alleged to have been awake for 24 hours. The debate is about if he was working, were the hours he worked logged properly and if he was not working why was he up for twenty-four hours.
The main issue in the case is whether or not the driver was following federal rest requirements that are in place for truck drivers. Beginning in July of 2013, truck drivers have been restricted to fourteen hour work days with eleven hours of driving and at the very least ten hours between shifts for sleep. According to the case, the driver claims he was awake for twenty-four hours but Wal-mart the truck driver employer, claims that the case does not specify whether or not the truck driver was working when he was up for twenty-four hours. If he was working, the other issue is whether or not his logs of hours worked and breaks were accurate.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 3,921 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2012 and 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic accidents that year. Driving fatigue was a major cause of these accidents. These risks have led federal regulators and safety advocates to focus more in recent years on improving the safety of trucks and truck drivers. The limits on hours of service are aimed specifically at reducing truck driver fatigue. The regulations took effect in July 2013.
The Department of Transportation is facing yet another safety concern. The concern of whether or not drivers are keeping accurate records and logs of the hours they work and the amount of rest they get. Drivers are required to log their hours and to provide the logs when asked by safety inspectors. Truck drivers typically record their logs on paper leading to a high risk of forged or inaccurate records. Beginning in March, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed requiring drivers to use electronic logs instead. The agency said a final rule on electronic logs could come in spring 2015.
It is important that truck drivers and their employers make sure records are accurate and that each employee gets enough sleep when they are not working. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, then you should contact one of our experienced automobile accident and personal injury lawyers at the Higgins Firm. We will answer any questions you may have and see to it that you get any compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.
You can contact us online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your case and any questions you might have.