Over the weekend a fatal truck accident in New Jersey claimed the life of one person and critically injured
three others, including famous comedian, Tracy Morgan. Court papers filed in
charges made against the truck driver who allegedly caused the traffic accident,
claim that he had been awake for 24 hours prior to the accident.
Interestingly, a few days prior to
this accident, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would suspend a requirement that truck drivers rest for at least 34 consecutive hours — including
two nights from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. — before beginning their next work
week. The so-called “restart” regulation was among a number of
changes that took effect last summer with the aim
of reducing driver fatigue. The new rules also limit the maximum average
work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum
of 82 hours, and require drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight
hours of a shift.
The measure was pushed by Sen. Susan
Collins (R-Maine). The amendment it still needs to be adopted by the full
Senate and reconciled with appropriations legislation drawn up in the House.
This new bill is laughable and I see
very little chance of it passing the full Senate. Especially now that truck
driver fatigue is being pushed to the forefront after this tragic
So what can be done to prevent
situations like this where the driver feels squeezed to meet his or her
deadline? The transportation companies – – and in this case Wal-Mart – – need
to heed the responsibility. Trucking companies are already responsible for the
negligent actions of their drivers. In this case, both the Wal-Mart and their
driver will be sued in civil court for the death of one passenger and the
injuries, bills and lost wages of the 3 others that were injured. Is this
enough to prevent companies from putting their drivers in a time crunch where
they are missing breaks and/or sleep? Instead of rolling back the measures (as
discussed above) that were implemented last year, I think the Senate should
consider penalizing companies who ignore the federally regulated timelines.
Lives could be at stake.
If you or someone you love has been
seriously injured in a Chicago truck accident or Chicago car crash, then call
Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation