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Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart of Deadly Truck Crash putting focus on lack of sleep among truck drivers

Daniel MunleyComedian Tracy Morgan has field a lawsuit against Walmart, in which he claims the company was negligent when a driver a driver of one of its tractor-trailers rammed into Morgan’s limousine van.

The lawsuit claims that Walmart should have know that its driver had been awake for more than 24 hours and that his commute of 700 miles form his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was unreasonable. It also alleges the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

The lawsuit states, “as a result of Walmart’s gross, reckless, willful, wanton, and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages.”

A former Saturday Night Live star, Morgan was recently released from a rehab facility where he had been recovering from serious injuries he suffered in the wreck that left fellow comedian James McNair dead. According to CNN, Morgan suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg in the crash. Morgan was in the hospital and then rehab for a month following the crash, and will continue and aggressive outpatient rehab program.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the crash that occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike last month said that the driver was driving 65 mph in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that area of the turnpike was 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes every year in America, according to the Department of Transportation, which also says 13 percent of those deaths were caused by fatigued drivers.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers of commercial vehicles, including a truck or tractor-trailer that is involved in interstate commerce and weighs more than 10,001 pounds, must follow three maximum duty limits at all times. They are the 14-hour driving window limit, 11-hour driving limit and the 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits. The FMCSA’s hours-of service rules also requires truck drivers to take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that a total of 3,514 people died in large truck crashes in 2012. 17 percent of those deaths were truck occupants, while 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. The Insurance Institute also reported that 96 percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2012 were occupants of the passenger vehicle.

Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants because of the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car and truck-braking capability can be a factor as well. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20 to 40 percent farther than cars to stop. Truck driver fatigue is also a major crash risk as we’ve seen with the Tracy Morgan case. A tired driver behind the wheel of a large truck poses a serious danger to other motorists on the road.

If you or a family member have been hurt in a crash with a large truck, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Our experienced attorneys can help you seek the compensation you deserve for medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Visit our website at www.munley.com.

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