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Morgan's truck accident causes federal law discussion

By now, many people have heard about the truck accident that nearly killed actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. That case, although it took place in New Jersey, applies to nearly every state in the U.S. In Washington, D.C., it's important to consider this case and it's implications, because it could directly affect truck drivers and your safety on the roads.

According to the story reported on June 9, the truck driver is accused of starting the truck accident that killed one person and nearly killed Morgan. The driver is accused of not driving for over 24 hours prior to the accident, which is a violation of federal law. Under the federal regulations for truck drivers, drivers may work up to 14 hours a day with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. The additional time is allowed to be used for things like paperwork, unloading, and loading the truck.

Between shifts, drivers are required to have at least 10 hours off. That time is meant to be devoted to sleep and relaxation. The driver, who was working for Walmart, has been backed by the company. The company states that it believes that he was operating within federal guidelines at the time of the crash. Interestingly, the accident still took place despite the truck driver's vehicle having a system designed to slow its speed and to let him know if there was stopped traffic ahead. The system may or may not have been working at the time of the crash.

In the past two years, federal data has shown Walmart trucks being involved in 380 crashes around the United States. Those crashes caused nine deaths and 129 injuries, according to the news.

Source: The Washington Post, "Complaint: Trucker in Morgan crash hadn't slept" No author given, Jun. 09, 2014

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