Technical compliance with the trucking rules
Drivers of large truck have a great deal of responsibility. They manage 80,000-pound or more trucks, traveling at 55 miles per hour or more, often for hundreds or thousands of miles across Indiana or the continent. Their vehicles dwarf most of the passenger vehicles the encounter on the road, and when something goes wrong, motorists in those vehicles frequently suffer catastrophic injuries or death as a result.
They must be alert and rested in order to deal with situations that arise as they drive, as the stopping distance and ability to maintain control of their large vehicles hinges on that awareness and their ability to react in a timely manner is essential.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that that crash that seriously injured Tracey Morgan and killed James McNair was due to the truck driver’s fatigued state, and his failure to slow down in a highway work zone and recognize that traffic ahead had come to a stop.
Contributing to the fatigue was his decision to drive 12 hours to get to work in his personal car. Had he been driving for Wal-Mart during those hours, he would have had to get off the road only two hours into his actual work period.
But he did not get off the road and rest. Instead, he drove for another 13.5 hours, crashing his truck with only 30 minutes left within his allotted driving time. The NTSB calculated he had been awake for 28 hours when he crashed into the limo.
The timing allowed Wal-Mart to claim he violated no rules at the time of the crash. While an outright rule violation may make it easier for the attorneys representing the interests of the family of someone killed in such a fatal accident, it provides cold comfort for the victim.
Source: cnn.com, “Trucker in Tracy Morgan crash hadn’t slept for 28 hours, NTSB says,” Jason Hanna and Rene Marsh, August 12, 2015