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Collision leads many to question trucking regulations

Not too long ago, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a very serious accident. West Virginia residents likely heard about the fatal truck accident on the news. Morgan was critically injured, along with others who suffered serious injuries, and one person was killed. According to authorities, a Wal-Mart truck driver caused the accident and authorities charged him criminally in connection with the incident

Now that the initial shock of the accident has subsided, more attention is being draw to the surrounding circumstances. The criminal complaint filed in the case stated that the driver had been awake for over 24 hours, which has led many to question trucking rules and regulations.

Federal law requires that commercial truck drivers limit drive time to 11 hours per day, but only after taking 10 hours off. Over the course of a week, drivers can work no more than 70 hours total. Drivers must also take a short 30-minute break during the initial eight hours of a work shift. But not everyone abides by these rules.

One truck driver, who routinely travels from Florida through West Virginia all the way to Canada, said that many drivers choose to forego sleep and instead rely on energy drinks or coffee to stay awake. Drivers are trying to make a living and sometimes do so at the expense of safety. And it shows. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are roughly 100,000 truck crashes yearly due to overly tired drivers.

Truck accidents can be more complex than the typical car accident. There are more moving parts between drivers, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer and the employer. Depending on the circumstances, there may be more than one person or entity responsible for a victim's injuries. If a victim is considering a personal injury lawsuit, it may be helpful to get a good grasp on all of the potentially liable parties in order to set the groundwork for a successful outcome and award of damages.

Source:, "Comedian Tracy Morgan's accident shines spotlight on trucking rules, regulation," Ariel Rothfield, June 9, 2014

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