It took far too long, but authorities are now paying attention to the crash that took the life of one comedian and left comedian and actor Tracy Morgan critically injured. The truck driver who caused the crash had not slept for over 24 hours, according to a newly filed criminal complaint.
Long haul trucking is a high stress, deadline-oriented job, and so it comes as no surprise that truckers feel pressure from their employers to do whatever it takes to get the job done on time. Often, there are bonuses or other incentives for completing a job earlier than the intended deadline. Truckers are only human, and they are susceptible to the same weaknesses as the rest of us. That means they want to make a few extra bucks where they can. It also means they get tired when driving—and driving while tired is dangerous.
In terms of distraction and vehicle accidents, drunk driving draws most of the headlines. It is only when something major happens—either injury to someone famous or a large enough accident—that people remember other forms of driving with diminished capacity, which are also common causes of death and disfigurement.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than one third of Americans have fallen asleep at the wheel. Other facts to consider include:
- Each year over 1,000 people are killed due to driving while fatigued.
- Very tired people have similar reaction times to individuals who are extremely intoxicated.
- Tired drivers are just as likely to injure others as they are to injure themselves.
- There are few, if any, tests to determine whether a person is too tired to drive.
It is good that a criminal inquiry is being undertaken in the terrible accident in New Jersey, but it is also important to remember that, in this case, was only the presence of a famous actor that drew the necessary attention to get the authorities to do their jobs. Hundreds of other truckers are likely being pressured by their bosses to drive tired, or feel an unstated pressure to drive tired to meet a deadline.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck or trucking accident, or a motor vehicle accident of any kind, and you suspect distracted or tired driving might have been involved, contact a lawyer to help you apply the necessary pressure to hold the negligent accountable.