A Wal-Mart tractor trailer rear-ended a limousine van carrying seven people and caused a chain reaction of accidents on June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike. The chain reaction caused by the initial incident ultimately involved 21 people and six vehicles, including actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan.
According to investigators, a truck driver began his 14-hour workday after driving approximately 800 miles from his home in Georgia to his workplace in Delaware. At the time of the accident, the driver had been awake for more than 28 hours and was 13.5 hours into his shift. The driver was going 65 mph in a 45 mph construction zone and did not apply the brakes until he was within 200 feet of the van. At 65 mph it would take a tractor-trailer over 400 feet to come to a complete stop. The accidents resulted in one death and nine injured.
Wal-Mart tried to blame the severity of injuries on both the passengers of the limo by stating they were not wearing seatbelts, as well as the delayed response time by emergency responders. However, no injuries would have been sustained had the driver been alert, drove the speed limit and stopped within a reasonable distance from the van in front of him. The injuries would also have been prevented had the Wal-Mart properly trained their drivers.The Wal-Mart driver was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the state of New Jersey and is awaiting trial.
Problems With Tired Tractor-Trailer Drivers
Tractor-trailer drivers are pushed to earn their pay by each mile they drive. Any stop results in less pay for them and every bit counts when the average annual salary is under $40,000 for over 80 hours of work per week. Designated truck rest stops along the interstate have been shutting down to cut costs where it’s possible. This leaves the drivers to find a parking lot or a spot on the side of the interstate to sleep, assuming there is room for them to park. The lack of sleep causes slow reaction times and unsafe driving. Some legislatures are pushing bills forward to promote safety and monitor the trucks by the Department of Transportation. For example, the Truck Safety Act is a bill that would require drivers to be paid by hours worked rather than miles covered.
Wal-Mart is no stranger to criticism stemming from their constant attempts to increase profit regardless of the cost to public health. A great documentary detailing the heartless practices of Wal-Mart is: The High Cost of Low Prices.
Federal Regulations for Truck Drivers
The government recognizes that large trucks like tractor-trailers pose a greater risk to the roads, due to their size and weight. Because of this, numerous federal regulations have been put in place to protect all drivers and passengers from injury and death related to commercial vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces a large number of rules and regulations with respect to truck driver regulation, vehicle regulations, company regulations, Hazmat regulations, and regulatory guidance. In an effort to help keep the public safe, semi-truck drivers have numerous stringent safety regulations that must be followed.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in St. Louis
Accidents like these are often the result of violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. It is important for injury victims to consult with an attorney who is able to uncover repetitive and intentional violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Large corporations must be held accountable for placing the public in needless and unnecessary danger in the name of company profits.
If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed as the result of truck or tractor-trailer accident, our experienced injury lawyers are standing by to help. There are time limits for filing your claim. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you recover damages.
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