Tracy Morgan May Never be Himself Again. Is Truck Driver Fatigue to Blame?
Tracy Morgan was severely injured on June 7, 2014, in an accident that killed his friend comedian Jimmy “Mack” McNair and injured three others. The limo they were riding in was struck by a Walmart truck. According to the criminal complaint, the truck driver hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours when he caused the crash. Now Morgan’s lawyer says he may never again be, “the Tracy Morgan he once was.”
Morgan’s Accident Highlights and Ongoing Problem
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people are killed and an additional 20,000 are injured each year in accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. When we hear or read about the number “injured” it is easy to think that they go on to make a full or decent recovery, but for many who survive crashes with large commercial trucks, the injuries are life-altering, and they never recover or go on to lead normal lives. Some never even wake up, although they may technically “live” for many years.
Truck driver fatigue is a complex problem. Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that specifically dictate how long a driver can be on the road and how much time they must take off to rest. However, HOS rules are highly controversial. Some say they are not strict enough. Others argue that they actually contribute to fatigue because they are structured in a way that does not allow drivers to rest when they can and need to.
Both arguments have real merit, but there is another issue that overshadows the details of HOS. Truck drivers are often pressured by the companies they work for to adhere to unrealistic schedules, and even to falsify their logbook entries so that they can break the rules. The trucking companies and the companies that ship goods are focused on moving more and moving it faster, because that increases their profits. In the process they are willing to work their drivers beyond the breaking point and risk the lives of everyone on the road to increase their bottom line.