Belleville: 618-234-9800 | Edwardsville: 618-656-2244 | ST. LOUIS: 314-421-2325

12.23.14 graphic WJN M0734641xA6406

by: William J. Niehoff

On June 7, 2014 at 12:54 a.m., a Wal-Mart truck driver slammed into the back of a vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike critically injuring comedian Tracy Morgan and others and killing comedy writer James McNair. According to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation, the driver had been working for 13:32 hours out of a permitted 14:00 hours and driving 9:37 hours out of a permitted 10:00 hours. There is little doubt that driver fatigue played a significant role in this tragedy.

Most of us are familiar with and operate cars and passenger trucks on a daily basis. However, the operation of an over-the-road truck is an entirely different sort of task. The average driver would not even be able to start, much less operate an over-the-road truck. Given the size and weight of these trucks compared to other vehicles on the roads, accidents involving them all too often result in catastrophe.

Driver fatigue is a significant contributing factor to many truck accidents that result in personal injury. Federal regulation governs permitted hours of service but all too often trucking companies schedule deliveries in a way that forces drivers to work to the limit or beyond of safety rules.

Successfully recovering against negligent (or worse) trucking companies and drivers for violation of safety standards is far more complicated than for an automobile accident; it is essential that you involve a personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable about trucking and the special regulations that apply to the industry. Within minutes of being informed of a truck accident, insurance company loss specialists will begin their investigation with an eye toward limiting or eliminating any payment to crash victims. If you or a family member are a truck accident victim, you should involve an experienced attorney at the earliest possible moment, before significant evidence is lost or manipulated.