A Georgia truck driver operating a Wal-Mart truck, charged in the New Jersey truck accident that killed one man and critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan, had not slept in more than 24 hours. According to a Reuters news report, a criminal complaint stated that the tractor-trailer driven by 35-year-old Kevin Roper slammed into a limousine van carrying Morgan, who is known for his television roles on Saturday Night Live and the hit NBC comedy series 30 Rock.
The complaint stated that Roper was driving the truck on the New Jersey Turnpike without having slept in excess of 24 hours. The driver is facing charges of vehicular homicide and three counts of assault by auto. Morgan and two other passengers still remain in critical condition. Officials say Roper failed to stop for slowing traffic and slammed into the limo bus carrying Morgan and several other comics and friends after a performance in Delaware. James McNair, a 62-year-old comic who performed under the name Jimmy Mack, died at the scene.
There are federal rules in place that aim to prevent precisely these types of accidents. Under the law, truck drivers are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which they can drive up to 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14-hour consecutive-hour driving window begins when a driver starts any kind of work. Once the driver has reached the end of this period, he cannot drive again until he has been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours.
Truck drivers are also required to maintain logs documenting the number of hours they have operated the vehicle as well as the breaks they have taken to rest. Manipulating these logs or failing to keep detailed records is a violation of federal law. Anyone who has been injured by a drowsy truck driver would be well advised to contact an experienced New Jersey truck accident lawyer who will take the necessary steps to obtain crucial pieces of evidence including truck driver logs to help bolster your claim. Negligent truck drivers, trucking firms, and corporations can be held accountable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused.