The truck accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and several others and killed a person is spurring new interest in the national debate about how to improve truck safety and reduce truck driver fatigue in the United States. The accident happened when a truck driver slammed into the back of a limo bus that Morgan and several others were riding in on a New Jersey highway.
Afterward, an investigation found that the driver had been awake for 24 hours at the time of the crash. The driver’s employer, Wal-Mart, has said it believes the driver was in compliance with federal regulations that limit the number of hours that a driver can be on the clock.
Safety advocates have been urging for more truck driver protections for years. This crash, involving a celebrity best known for his role on the TV show “30 Rock,” has added energy to the debate. On Monday, June 16, for example, a U.S. senator urged the Department of Transportation to force commercial drivers to use electronic devices that more accurately track their hours than paper models.
The idea isn’t new. According to the New York Daily News, electronic logs became law in 2012, and federal regulators have released a proposed rule that would require their implementation. Last year, lawmakers tightened regulations on the number of hours a driver can work without a break – changes that were aimed specifically at reducing the number of accidents involving truck driver fatigue.
For more information about the debate on truck safety in the U.S., see our recent article, “Tracy Morgan’s Truck Accident Ignites Safety Debate.”