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Tracy Morgan's accident may be wake-up call for truck safety

It's no secret that being overly tired behind the wheel creates a serious safety threat. Perhaps this issue receives the most attention in one major industry: commercial trucking.

This issue came into play in a very public and shocking way. Tracy Morgan, actor and comedian, was seriously injured in a truck accident that killed one of his colleagues. According to reports, the at-fault truck driver hadn't slept in more than 24 hours prior to the crash.

Given the high profile of this story, the issue of work and rest hour regulations for truckers has come into the spotlight.

A few months back, we discussed the effectiveness of federal work-hour regulations for truck drivers in a blog post. Despite the fact that drivers reported feeling more rested after abiding by the latest standards for work and rest periods, some drivers and their employers remain resistant.

The New York Times documents efforts among truck drivers, trucking companies and lawmakers to put a hold on regulations that were put into effect last year. As a result of the most recently rolled out rules, truck drivers are now able to work 12 fewer hours every week.

The idea behind hour regulations for truck drivers makes sense and can be discussed in several contexts. However, it's much more difficult to see regulatory violations play out in a very real way. Of course, the truck accident involving Morgan deserves attention, but similar accidents happen quite frequently. In fact, statistics show that one in seven highway deaths involve a semi truck.

Accident victims deserve to know when broken laws or regulations contributed to a crash. This information can provide more insight into the viability and success of a civil claim for compensation.

Source: The New York Times, "Truckers Resist Rules on Sleep, Despite Risks of Drowsy Driving," Jad Mouawad and Elizabeth A. Harris, June 16, 2014

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