Reports Indicate the Fatigued Truck Driver Involved in the Tracy Morgan Crash Had Not Slept in 24 Hours
The deadly tractor-trailer crash that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and claimed the life of the comedian's mentor serves as a tragic reminder that we have not eradicated the problem of truck driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict limits on hours of service and mandates minimum rest periods to mitigate the risk of driver fatigue.
Authorities reportedly told the USA Today that the trucking accident that landed Morgan in the hospital was allegedly caused by a truck driver who had not slept for 24 hours prior to the crash. Police statements reported by media sources indicate that the truck driver failed to notice a traffic slowdown. The Wal-Mart truck plowed into the limousine bus from behind. The initial impact caused a chain reaction that involved another large commercial truck, an SUV and two other cars. While our Atlanta truck accident attorneys have previously addressed the danger of truck driver fatigue in this blog, sometimes it takes tragedies like these to make the threat more than a theoretical possibility for motorists.
Fatigued driving is one of the most common trucking accident risks because of the financial incentives to violate these trucking safety regulations. The challenges of a tight economy and competition in the logistics industry mean that trucking companies increase profits by delivering cargo to a destination more rapidly. The drive to increase profits often results in commercial carriers offering incentive plans for drivers based on traveling further faster, which encourages drivers to disregard hours of service rules.
A documentary entitled "Danger on the Road – Truck Driver Fatigue" that was based on an analysis of five years of tractor-trailer crash data found that 3,500 to 5,000 people die each year in semi-truck collisions. The researchers estimate that fatigue causes approximately 30 percent of trucking fatalities and 15 percent of serious trucking injuries.
Fatigue and drowsiness constitute a particularly insidious accident risk because one of the effects of lack of sleep is that it impairs the ability of drivers to judge their fatigue level. The documentary cites research indicating that driving after remaining awake for 17 consecutive hours is akin to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 percent, which constitutes a traffic offense even for non-commercial drivers in some states. When a driver operates a tractor-trailer after being sleep deprived for 24 hours, the impact on driving ability is the equivalent of driving with a (BAC) of .10 or higher.
If you are involved in a crash involving a tractor-trailer, falsified driver log books can complicate the process of proving hours or service violations. Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are familiar with these types of trucking industry practices, so we have the experience necessary to seek other documents and event data recorder ("black box") information to expose violations of anti-fatigue rules.
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If you have been injured in a truck accident in Atlanta, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.