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Overtired driver may have caused semi accident

It has been said that a tired driver is almost as bad as a drunk driver, and statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that around 1,550 fatalities and more than 100,000 car accidents every year are the result of overtired drivers. In Wisconsin, tractor-trailer drivers are known for driving long distances and long hours to deliver their loads, and close to 4,000 people die in semi crashes every year across the country. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, tired truck drivers are a leading factor in those crashes.

Such appears to be the case in the now infamous tractor-trailer accident that involved a Wal-Mart semi and a limo bus transporting celebrity comedian Tracy Morgan. One man was killed and another five passengers were injured in the crash that took place in the early morning hours of June 7. According to reports, the tractor-trailer driver allegedly did not see that traffic had slowed and rear-ended the limo bus, causing it to overturn. This led to a chain reaction, ending with a total of two semis, the limo bus, two cars and an SUV all involved in the crash.

According to the American Trucking Association, drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours in every 14-hour shift. Once a 14-hour shift is ended, the driver must take a 10-hour break before starting the next 14-hour shift. Drivers must also work no more than 60 hours over a period of seven days. While so far a Wal-Mart spokesman has said that the company believes the driver was operating within the regulations, the man has been charged with four counts of assault by auto and one count of vehicular homicide. The driver had allegedly been awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the crash.

The man entered a not guilty plea on June 11 and is currently out on $50,000 bail. Criminal charges aside, the man may also be able to be held liable in any civil suits filed both those injured in the crash. All drivers have a responsibility to be alert while driving to protect their own lives and the lives of others, but when this doesn't happen, victims should be aware of all of their legal options for recourse.

Source: USA Today, "Driver in Tracy Morgan crash pleads not guilty" Suzanne Russell, Jun. 11, 2014

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