The federal transportation safety investigators revealed that a Wal-Mart truck driver was speeding immediately prior to careening into a limousine, killing a man and seriously injuring Tracy Morgan, the famous comedian.
Right before the crash, the truck driver was reportedly travelling 65 mph in a 45 mph zone.
This incident highlights the difficult balance between allowing truckers to work long hours and how doing so impacts the safety and health of the trucker as well as other motorists.
The driver had been on the job for approximately 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash. The law on the books only allows a truck driver to work a maximum of 14 hours in a day and only 11 hours behind the wheel.
Had the driver reached his intended destination, he would have been slightly over the 14-hour limit (presuming he would have been going the speed limit).
Currently, the Senate is considering passing a resolution that would expand the maximum work period for truck drivers to 80 hours per week.
However, as a result of this tragic incident, the Teamsters Union pushed Congress not to ease the laws limiting truck drivers from working 60-70 hours per week.
The President of the Teamsters, James P. Hoffa, noted, “The NTSB’s preliminary findings in this case clearly show that truck drivers are pushing beyond the limits of the current hours of service rules.”
Apparently, the driver had not slept in 24 hours before the crash.
No one can tell whether the Senate resolution will pass, let alone become law. However, one thing is for sure: as this nationwide debate rages on, it is crucial for you to remember the importance of driving safely and the frightening ramifications of failing to do so.
Remember, a truck driver is a CDL (commercial driver’s license) holder and the penalties are dire for speeding when you have a CDL. Do not let fatigue or very long hours lead to a speeding ticket or a suspended license.