As comedian Tracy Morgan’s recent auto accident showed, catastrophic accidents can happen to anyone at any time. If you have not heard, Morgan’s limo van was hit by a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike at about 1 a.m. Saturday. Funnyman Morgan suffered several injuries, including broken ribs, a broken nose, a broken leg and a broken femur. He is still in critical condition and is expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks. Sadly, Tracy’s fellow passenger, comedian James McNair, was fatally injured in the crash.
So what happened to cause this terrible accident? It seems that driver fatigue may have been responsible. As we have previously discussed, one in 4 drivers drive while overly-tired. According to a criminal complaint, the Walmart truck driver accused of causing the New Jersey crash had not slept for more than 24 hours. The driver apparently failed to slow for traffic along the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday and swerved to avoid a crash. His big rig smashed into the back of Morgan’s Mercedes limo bus. Another tractor-trailor was involved and a pile up ensued.
It is possible that the driver, or his employer Walmart, were in violation of the Federal Motor Carrying Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations. The FMCSA has a long list of rules truck drivers must comply with in order to ensure they’ve had enough rest before getting behind the wheel. Current rules limit the workweek for truck drivers to 70 hours, with no workday permitted to exceed 14 hours, and no stretch on the road to top 11 hours. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injuries as a result of a car accident caused by truck driver fatigue, contact an experienced Los Angeles auto accident lawyer.
Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense related to driving fatigued, as described above. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
For more information on trucking accidents and potential financial recovery, contact the aggressive trial lawyers at BIKLAW today.