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Questions about truckers' hours surface after Morgan accident

As more details emerge about the collision between a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer and a limousine van carrying actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, it raises questions about the conditions that truck drivers routinely work under. Authorities say the truck driver, who is facing criminal charges in the deadly crash, had been on the job for about 13 1/2 hours straight, and had been awake for more than 24 hours.

That may sound like a long day to most readers, but it was in line with federal regulations. The law lets truckers work up to 14 hours in a day, and a total of 60 to 70 hours per week.

The crash took the life of one man in the van, and critically injured three others, including Morgan. He and his assistant have since been upgraded to fair condition, and Morgan has been moved to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery. However, a fourth man, a fellow comedian, was still in critical condition as of June 20.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering amending the rules to extend the maximum number of work hours for truck drivers to 80 per week. The Teamsters Union opposes the move, noting that drivers already seem to be under pressure to work as many hours per day as possible, even at the risk of becoming fatigued and causing injury to themselves and others.

Besides being allegedly too tired to drive, the suspect is accused of driving 65 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. If he had driven the speed limit, he might not have made his destination within the 14-hour time frame.

A truck accident can cause serious injury to the driver, even when he or she was not to blame. To keep an injured driver’s family from suffering an unjust financial burden, it may be necessary to litigate to receive the personal injury compensation due to them.

Source: KHOU-TV, “Tracy Morgan crash raises new questions about trucker’s schedule,” David Porter, June 20, 2014

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