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Asleep At The Wheel

Recently, a WalMart truck driver, Kevin Roper, 35, was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto in the incident on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed a man and injured comedian Tracy Morgan. Roper was awake for more than 24 consecutive hours before the incident.

The wreck took place at 1 o'clock in the morning. Morgan's limo bus was hit by a semi truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The semi truck smashed into the back of the Mercedes limo bus, prompting a chain-reaction crash with a second semi-trailer, an SUV and two cars. No one in the other vehicles were injured.

Each year over 110,000 people are injured and more than 5000 are killed in the United States in motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.

One in 10 American truck drivers, train conductors, airline pilots and other transportation workers may be dangerously sleep-deprived. Drowsy driving in the trucking industry is a problem that the government tries to solve by placing limits on how long a trucker can drive in a day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finds that many semi truck accidents are caused by sleep deprivation. One survey found that 47.1% of long haul truck drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel at least once.

Professional drivers are affected by driving schedules and workload. Commercial drivers (CDL) are the largest at-risk group for sleep-related motor vehicle accidents, and working the night shift, long work schedules and other problems such as sleep apnea can increase the likelihood of a sleep-related trucking accident.

Semi truck drivers are allowed by law to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch or up to 77 hours in a 7 day period. Many drivers and companies violate work restriction regulations and operate longer than is permitted in order to meet transportation deadlines.

Drowsy semi truck drivers should be a concern for all. When a 10,000 pound 18-wheeler is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the car will most likely be the ones seriously injured, disabled or killed. In fact, in 98% of the semi-truck vs. passenger vehicle accidents in which there is a death, the person killed was in the passenger vehicle.

Contact Miller Weisbrod

If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to truck driver fatigue, the time to act is now. Many companies have a team of investigators, lawyers and insurance adjusters who are ready to respond to an accident immediately and trained to limit the company's own liability. We take immediate action to root out the truth about what caused your truck accident and who is to blame, protecting your rights and seeking maximum compensation right away. To discuss your case with an experienced personal injury trial attorney, we invite you to call our offices in Dallas toll free at 888.987.0005 for a free consultation. You may also contact us by e-mail now for more information or to schedule an appointment. We represent clients nationwide.