Driver Fatigue To Blame In Recently Deadly Truck Crash
Our New York truck accident attorneys know all too well how many lives are ruined and even ended by truck driver fatigue. The damage caused in this recent big rig accident on the New Jersey turnpike this past weekend is tremendous with one fatality and famed actor and comedian Tracey Morgan seriously injured. Another comedian, James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was the unfortunate victim who passed away as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.
The Walmart truck driver in this truck accident is being charged criminally with vehicular homicide and assault. While Walmart has publicly stated that they will take full responsibility, whether they will put their money where their mouth is and offer reasonable compensation to the truck accident victims remains to be seen. All too often, these large truck companies engage in damage control through publicity by accepting responsibility, but then they make insulting and low ball offers to the accident victims and families of wrongful death victims. Experienced truck accident attorneys are required to make the truck companies step up to the plate and fairly compensate the victims of truck accidents. Walmart is no stranger to truck accidents having had 380 crashes in the past two years, which have caused nine deaths and 129 personal injuries.
Preliminary reports show that the driver was awake for twenty four hours straight. This lack of rest certainly diminishes the drivers alertness and reflexes. It is evident that this tractor trailer driver failed to keep a proper lookout and make appropriate adjustments for the traffic conditions which he encountered. The driver of the tractor-trailer failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead, and then swerved to try and avoid the a limo bus but struck it from behind, which caused the limo to rotate and overturn. New York has a traffic regulation directly on point for this type of situation. In particular New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law 1129 required motorists to keep a safe distance between the vehicles in front of them.
The driver was in technical compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service regulations. The driver didn’t violate the federal regulations only because there were no regulations in effect which required a minimum number of hours of sleep prior to operating a commercial big rig, but there certainly should have been. The most recent regulations which became effective in July, 2013. Under these regulations, a driver may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. The regulations also require that drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth. Hopefully in the wake of this tragedy, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will implement new rules requiring minimum hours of sleep between shifts. This type of new regulation would prevent these types of accidents.
Our truck accident attorneys have handled both personal injury cases and wrongful death cases arising out of truck accidents all over the State of New York.