The deadly truck crash last weekend that killed a friend of Tracy Morgan and left him with severe injuries appears to have been caused by a fatigued truck driver. A prosecutor has charged him with vehicular homicide and assault and alleged that the driver had not slept for 24 hour.
Remarkably, the trucking industry claims that a new 14-hour workday limit has hampered their flexibility, and means that a truck driver “can’t stop and take a break” to rest or wait out bad weather.
It is always interesting that the industry becomes concerned about truck drivers being able to take breaks and place the blame on government regulations, when it is the industry that creates the schedules and timetables that the drivers must follow.
If ensuring truck drivers were adequately rested was truly important, they would structure the schedules to make certain that weather or traffic were accounted for, instead of writing such a tight schedule that a driver finds it necessary to maximize their time behind the wheel.
A study of truck crashes in 2005 found that 13 percent of truck crashes involved drivers who were fatigued.
Truck accidents and fatalities have begun to increase again, as the volume of truck traffic rises post-recession. In 2012, large trucks were averaging 868 crashes every day. Out of those crashes, there were 11 deaths and 200 accidents resulting injuries. And most of those who die, are the occupants of the other vehicles.
A semi-truck can weigh 40 tons and moving at interstate speeds results in a crash with the destructive force of a bomb. Place a tired truck driver in the cab and it becomes as dangerous as a bomb.
The Huffington Post, “Just Days Before Tracy Morgan Accident, Senate Moved To Weaken Trucker Fatigue Rules,” Melissa Jeltsen, June 8, 2014
Source: The Huffington Post, “Just Days Before Tracy Morgan Accident, Senate Moved To Weaken Trucker Fatigue Rules,” Melissa Jeltsen, June 8, 2014