USA Today reported today that the National Traffic Safety Board
(“NTSB”) issued a preliminary report in the Tracy Morgan truck accident case, which doesn’t bode well for the defendant driver or his
employer, Wal-Mart. The report stated that a preliminary
review of the data showed that the truck was traveling at 65 mph for the 60
seconds preceding the collision with the Mercedes-Benz limo van. NTSB
investigators are correlating these data with the physical evidence. The speed
limit at the traffic accident scene was 45 mph. The speed limit had been
lowered from 55 mph due to construction in the area.
It was previously
reported nationally (and on this blog) that the driver had not slept for 24
hours prior to this crash. The NTSB report is now saying that electronic
log data show that Roper “had logged 9 hours 37 minutes of driving time
when the crash occurred. With respect to the maximum 14-hour consecutive duty
period for commercial motor vehicle drivers, the driver had logged 13 hours 32
minutes at the time of the vehicle collision.”
Although it’s early, it appears that
the truck driver was negligent in this case and will be responsible for the
damages he caused to Tracy Morgan and the other passengers in his limousine.
Further, Wal-Mart is ultimately on the hook for the damages as they are
responsible for any negligent actions caused by one of its drivers during the
course and scope of their employment.
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
Reuters recently reported that 1.9 million people are involved in car accidents and near misses every year. The National Sleep
Foundation’s 2009 Sleep in America poll shows that 1% or as many as 1.9 million drivers have had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in the past year. Even more surprising, 54% of drivers (105 million) have driven while drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28% (54 million) do so at least once per month.
“People underestimate how tired they are and think that they can stay awake by sheer force of will,” said Thomas Balkin, Ph.D., Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation. “This is a risky misconception. Would there be 1.9 million fatigue-related crashes or near misses if people were good at assessing their own ability to drive when fatigued?”
“The problem,” says Balkin, “is that although we are pretty good at recognizing when we feel sleepy, we do not recognize the process of actually falling asleep as it is happening. The process robs us of both self-awareness and awareness of our environment. All it takes is a moment of reduced awareness to cause a car crash.”
Studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit in all states. Like alcohol, fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. But unlike an awake driver impaired by alcohol, a sleeping driver is unable to take any action to avoid a car crash.
As I discussed a few days ago, the federal government could step in and require truck drivers to take an hour break for rest every ten hours. Based on the above statistics, that seems to be appropriate action that could cut down on some of the dangerous driving on our nation’s highways. We will watch this closely.
To read this entire story, click here.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident or truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.