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ATA addresses Tracy Morgan tractor-trailer crash

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) was moved today to issue a statement on hours-of-service, following the high level of publicity a crash involving a Walmart truck and celebrity comedian Tracy Morgan has received.

Morgan was critically injured, and another comedian killed, when the limo they were travelling in was rear-ended by a Walmart semi.

The media has reported the truck driver was sleep-deprived when the wreck occurred. The ATA, however, pointed out no regulation can dictate how a driver spends his off-duty time, and defended its lobbying efforts for more flexible hours-of-service regulations.

“The hours-of-service rules – whether they are the current regulations, the pre-2013 rules, or the rules with changes we hope to see as a result of Congressional action – only place limits on driving and on-duty time and require that between work periods drivers take a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty. But they do not dictate what drivers do during that off-duty period,” ATA president Bill Graves said in a statement. “No rule can address what a driver does in his or her off-duty time. The industry – including ATA, our member fleets, our state associations and the millions of safe, professional truck drivers on the road today – strongly believes that drivers must take advantage of their off-duty periods for rest and that drivers should not drive if they are fatigued.

“Good public policy and good regulations stem from good research and good data. This is why we support a suspension of the controversial and unjustified restrictions on use of the hours-of-service restart provision, which alters driver sleep patterns and puts more trucks on the road during more risky daylight hours. It is also why we support mandatory use of electronic logging devices to track drivers’ compliance with the hours of service requirements.  In addition, it is why we support more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws to combat distracted and aggressive driving as well as restricting the speeds of large trucks to 65 mph with mandatory electronic speed governors.

“Fatigue, while an important safety issue, is a causal factor in less than 10% of all truck crashes, and ATA believes we need to do far more to address the other 90% of crashes.”

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6 Comments » for ATA addresses Tracy Morgan tractor-trailer crash
  1. Terry Novotny says:

    I am sure that at one time or another anyone who drives whether a car or truck or perhaps even a motorcycle would tell you that they have driven while too tired or impaired. I certainly don’t blame Walmart for this accident, they weren’t driving. the one person that can be blamed here is the driver for not getting enough sleep, but it has to come down to accountability and the driver is behind the wheel and he along makes the decision to drive or pull off and rest. This whole incident could have been avoided if the driver had made a better decision, easier said than done sometimes. He has to live with this terrible accident, I am sure that God will forgive him, I would like to think the rest of us can as well. My prayers go out to all the victims and their families on both sides of this tragedy.

  2. Ron says:

    There is always two sides to every story and before this driver’s representatives are given an opportunity to respond to the allegation everyone should take a step back. In this day and age it is hard to believe a driver would go over 24 hours with rest. Who at this point has examined this driver’s daily log? As a safety manager I have been through audits where a driver has shown 7.75 hrs of sleeper time that simply was not considered because it didn’t meet the 8 hr rule. In the eyes of the inspector now the driver was on duty for over 24 hrs, which he clearly wasn’t. If in fact this driver actually was on duty for over 24 hrs, he will be held accountable. However, there is a possibility that it was a simple paperwork error or omission.

  3. Victor Mitchell says:

    It’s plain and simple the body and mind are not built to run by a book. Each and every driver is different. It should be if a driver is checked and found fatigued he is taken off the road for 48hrs and a possible fine and kept a record of for future infractions. Second offence the driver and owner of the company must attend a investigation process to come up with a solution in area a contract form that they will monitor and solve the problem.

  4. Angel says:

    I feel so sorry for everyones loss in this situation, but I gotta say that I have been driving for 30 plus years so I kinda know what the shippers and receivers are like, they don”t give a rats patutie if you are on a schedule and make you wait forever for a load, then your dispatcher tells you to get it there, what if your out of hours and can’t go, to bad, we don”t have electronic logs so fix it, WalMart is one of the worst for unloading sometimes you have to hire a lumper or unload yourself so that cuts into your rest time, so blame the right people here

  5. Lane Kranenburg says:

    Having been a fleet owner and a policeman, I think the ATA needs to do their homework with relation to the fatigue issue. I believe that fatigue is an issue in over half of the incidents involving commercial vehicles. Drivers would never admit that they were tired, and the enforcement people cannot prove fatigue, therefore fatigue goes unreported in many crashes.

  6. Joe Licari says:

    My impression of this accident was that the driver was off duty but did not get any rest in the 24 hours before he went on duty. If that is correct I would think it is similar to a case of a driver showing up for work with alcohol on his breath. Does the company let him drive? In my opinion they shouldn’t when the driver can be impaired by alcohol. Is being impaired by fatigue any different?

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