The criminal complaint in a truck accident that left comedian Tracy Morgan injured and resulted in the death of another passenger of his limo bus alleges that the truck driver was operating in violation of hours-of-service regulations.
The driver of the Wal-Mart truck has been charged with vehicular homicide and assault in conjunction with the Saturday morning collision, which occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident, which involved the truck and a limo bus, claimed the life of comedian James McNair, also known as Jimmy Mack, and left Morgan and others injured. The criminal complaint against the driver alleges that he was operating the tractor-trailer "without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours."
Wal-Mart has claimed that the driver was operating within federal regulations, which allow commercial truck drivers to work no more than 14 hours and to drive no more than 11 hours within a work shift. These regulations are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and must be followed by all commercial truck drivers in the United States. These same hours-of-service regulations mandate a 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of a driver's shift and enforce a 60 to 70-hour on-duty limit for drivers in a period of 7 to 8 consecutive days.
Trucking regulations are meant to prevent the occurrence of truck accidents, injuries and fatalities. Hours-of-service regulations are specifically aimed at preventing fatigue-related accidents, which are estimated to account for approximately one-third of truck collisions in the U.S. Fatigued drivers may be unable to safely operate their vehicles due to delayed reaction time and impaired judgment, vision and motor skills. Insufficient rest can also lead to serious health conditions in drivers.
Whether the driver in the accident that claimed McNair's life and left Morgan and others injured was driving in violation of hours-of-service regulations remains to be seen, but this does bring up an important issue pertaining to truck accidents. We cannot stress enough the importance of commercial drivers, who are charged with the already difficult task of operating large and heavy vehicles, getting sufficient rest. In addition to facing FMSCA fines and citations, drivers and motor carriers who violate federal trucking regulations may be held accountable by victims' families in civil court.
A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against a truck driver or trucking company for violating hours-of-service regulations and causing a serious traffic accident. At The Daspit Law Firm, we handle truck accident claims and lawsuits throughout Houston and the surrounding areas in Texas. If you would like to learn more about the services we provide in these cases, please do not hesitate to call for a free case review. Our team is standing by to answer your questions and provide insight that only a knowledgeable Houston injury attorney can offer.