Truck Safety Questioned After Fatal Crash Left Tracy Morgan in Critical Condition
A fatal crash that left actor Tracy Morgan in critical condition Saturday has raised questions about the safety of commercial truck driving and driver schedules.
The accident occurred early Saturday on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury Township, NJ as a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia failed to slow down for traffic ahead. Though driver Kevin Roper swerved at the last minute, his truck ultimately collided with the Mercedes limo bus that carried Morgan and several friends.
The fatal crash left comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, Morgan’s friend and mentor, dead and three others, including Morgan, critically injured. Jeffrey Millea, 36, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, were among those who were critically injured in the accident. Another passenger of Morgan’s limo, Harris Stanton, was treated and released shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The accident also triggered a pileup of several other vehicles, though the only passengers injured as a result of the accident were in Morgan’s limo.
Roper turned himself in to New Jersey State Police, along with his lawyer, but has since been released on $50,000 bail. According to USA TODAY, he has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
Commercial Trucking Safety Concerns
This tragic accident has federal investigators exploring safety concerns associated with commercial trucking and drivers’ hefty schedules. State police and investigators, together, will work to determine what may have caused the accident and Wal-Mart President Bill Simon has stated that Wal-Mart will take full responsibility if its truck was the cause of the accident.
According to Huffington Post, “The tragedy is likely to highlight a move by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week to undermine a federal regulation mandating truck driver rest.”
The accident, and others like it, certainly raise concerns around truck drivers’ schedules, the safety of large tractor-trailer trucks and how much rest truck drivers should be required to have each day. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, via State Farm, “Large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, were involved in 286,000 crashes in 2009, which led to over 3,000 deaths and 74,000 injuries.” State Farm’s Learning Center compiled a list of conditions that may contribute to tractor-trailer accidents, including:
Tractor-Trailer Accident Risk Factors
- Size and weight differences
- Driver distractions
- Adverse conditions
- Improper weight distribution
- Traffic flow
Accidents such as this one are certainly always disheartening. It will be interesting to see how the investigation unfolds and how senate will respond to the accident in regard to commercial trucking laws.
The risk that vehicles this large can pose may be higher than that of regular-sized vehicles, and other drivers on the road should certainly take extra precautions when approaching a large truck. Though there are safety measures that drivers can take, unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid incidents like the one that occurred on Saturday.
Should you find yourself, or a loved one, victim of a crash, call on the experts at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood to help you understand your rights. We strive to help our clients understand their rights and receive the compensation they deserve.
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