Recently, pictures have emerged of comedian Tracy Morgan walking with a cane as he recovers from his infamous accident with a Wal-Mart truck in June 2014. While Morgan and other passengers survived the wreck with serious injuries, comedian James McNair was killed in the crash. McNair’s surviving family recently reached an undisclosed wrongful death settlement with Wal-Mart, and reports say that other settlements are attempted to be reached with the other vehicle occupants.

The crash, which happened on the New Jersey Turnpike, involved a van carrying Morgan, McNair, and several other comedians. A Wal-Mart tractor trailer driven by Kevin Roper struck the van from behind while going 65 miles per hour in a construction zone marked at 45 miles per hour, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Roper pleaded not guilty to charges of assault by auto and vehicular homicide, and tensions ran high after Wal-Mart claimed that Morgan was partially to blame for his injuries since he had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. It was found that Roper had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the accident, which meant that Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules played a major role in this case.

What Are “Hours-of-Service” Rules, and What Impact Do They Have on the Case?

HOS rules strictly regulate the rest and duty limitations of truck drivers, and are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Generally requiring a minimum of 10 consecutive hours of sleep no more than 14 hours prior to driving, Roper’s whopping 24 hours without rest was a bold violation of these rules.

Roper had driven from his home in Georgia to a Wal-Mart facility in Delaware, and proceeded to make several pick-ups and deliveries in the surrounding states prior to hitting the van holding Morgan and his fellow comedians. HOS rules are strict business, and Roper’s flagrant violation meant that his employer would ultimately be held financially responsible for his actions.

Holding Fatigued Truck Drivers Responsible

Truck driver fatigue is incredibly dangerous for everyone on the road, and no matter how tough regulations become, the responsibility will ultimately lie with drivers and employers to ensure that HOS rules are being followed to the letter.

If you have been hurt by a truck driver and suspect that fatigue played a role in your crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Start a live chat with us now to discuss your case with an attorney.

Christopher J. Hudson
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Local Augusta lawyer specializing in mass tort workers' comp, car accident and personal injury claims.
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