Not everyone can say that. A Walmart tractor trailer driver, Kevin Roper, might not be able to say it. Last Saturday, while driving down the New Jersey Turnpike, he rear-ended a van carrying, among others, the comedian Tracy Morgan (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock). The New Jersey police assure us (we don’t know how they know) that Roper had not slept in 24 hours. Federal law limits tractor trailer drivers to 14 hours shifts, with only 11 of those behind the wheel.
Roper’s sleep-deprived accident caused a pile up. Several were injured and one victim was killed. Morgan himself is in critical condition. There have been some reports he may lose a leg.
When bad things happen to celebrities, problems that once went unnoticed under the radar suddenly get the spotlight. For example, when Angela Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene, we all learned about genetic testing for this anomaly. This might help some of us avoid breast cancer.
I am hoping this high profile truck accident will shine a national spot light on tractor trailer accidents. It’s a growing problem. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the number of fatal large truck crashes has been steadily rising. In 2012, there were about 333,000 large truck crashes, which resulted in 3,921 deaths and more than 104,000 injuries. Of those killed, about 73 percent were occupants of vehicles other than the large truck.
My hopes have some basis in fact. The National Transportation Safety Board, a Federal agency charged with roadway safety, has launched a team of investigators to New Jersey accident scene. They are conducting an investigation to determine how to prevent similar tragedies. Maybe they will. Let’s hope so.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central & Syracuse NY Truck Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.