In June of last year, comedian Tracy Morgan was traveling with several of his fellow comedians on the New Jersey Turnpike in a limo bus when it was struck by a tractor trailer. The truck, a Walmart semi driven by James Roper, was going over 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit when it struck the bus carrying Morgan and his friends, which severely injured Morgan and killed comedian James McNair. While Roper was legally within his driving time limit, he had been awake for over 24 hours leading up to the crash.
Tracy Morgan Satisfied with Settlement
Recently, Walmart and Morgan reached a financial settlement for an undisclosed amount, with the big box store claiming full responsibility for the accident. Tracy Morgan responded with a statement commending Walmart for stepping up to the plate and resolving the matter for the accident victims and their families.
Aftermath of the Walmart Truck Crash, and What it Means to You
While Walmart upholds that Roper was not in violation of any hours of service rules, the accident brought several key safety issues to the attention of industry safety advocates and the media alike. At the time of the crash, lawmakers were seriously considering easing up on rest requirements and hours of service rules for commercial drivers. While nothing was officially changed then, new rules are being proposed to increase drivers’ working hours as well as truck sizes.
Advocates of the proposed changes claim that it will increase efficiency, but these moves could also open the floodgates for truck accidents that cause much more serious damage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that truck accident injuries and fatalities are on the rise over the last few years.
While Walmart has come forward to accept their responsibility in this particular crash, the trucking industry’s tunnel vision when it comes to profits over safety could put you and your loved ones at risk. Augusta truck accident attorney Chris Hudson hopes that Congress will step up and put safety above profit, and encourage the industry to find a way to cut costs without sacrificing standards.