On June 7, actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was traveling on a limo bus with colleagues on their way home from a comedy show when a Walmart tractor trailer approached from behind and slammed into their vehicle, tossing it like a toy car.
A veteran comedian was killed in the accident, and Morgan and several others suffered serious injuries. As it turns out, the driver of the tractor trailer did not notice that traffic had slowed down on the highway until it was too late and his truck careened into the limo bus.
The high-profile trucking accident has raised many questions regarding safety in the trucking industry, especially after it was reported that the trucker hadn't slept in 24 hours prior to the crash.
Additionally, a report issued this week by the National Transportation Safety Board indicated that the trucker had been on the road for 13 hours straight and was speeding when the crash occurred.
Interestingly, the issue of trucking safety has been thrust back into the spotlight just before Congress was ready to back off of a federal rule that reduced the number of hours truckers can drive in a workweek from 82 to 70.
Now at least two members of Congress say they plan on introducing legislation that would prevent the rule's rollback, with one senator stating that too many trucking fatalities have occurred "as a result of tired, overworked truck drivers who are pushed to the max in the name of corporate profits and at the expense of public safety."
While the June 7 accident made national headlines because of the famous people involved, fatal trucking accidents occur all of the time in Arkansas and the rest of the country, and many involve driver fatigue, speeding and other forms of negligent operation.
Oftentimes, the only recourse accident victims and their families have is holding truckers and their employers responsible through personal injury lawsuits. Hopefully, now that trucking safety is in the national spotlight, officials will do more to prevent trucking accidents from occurring in the first place.
Source: The Star-Ledger, "Tracy Morgan crash: NTSB says truck driver was speeding and had worked 13 hours straight," Steve Strunsky, June 19, 2014