Most drivers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia out late at night are looking out for drunk drivers. Unfortunately, drunk drivers are not the only threats on the road: sleep-deprived driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation causes similar effects to drunk driving – reaction time is slowed, judgment may be impaired, and drivers are less alert. As a result, fatigued drivers can be just as lethal as drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that one in six fatal auto accidents are caused by tired drivers.
The issue was brought to the forefront just 6 weeks ago, when actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who had allegedly been awake for over 24 hours. The limousine he was riding in was rear ended by a Walmart tractor trailer as traffic slowed in a construction zone. Several other passengers were injured, and comedian James McNair was killed.
On July 10th Morgan, along with two other passengers, filed a complaint against Walmart, claiming that the company’s negligence contributed to their injuries. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, where the accident took place. The driver has also been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Plaintiff’s counsel is alleging that Walmart was aware, or should have been aware, of the dangerous circumstances their driver was in before the accident. The driver went from his home in Georgia to his shift in Delaware, an 11 hour drive. He then proceeded to work for an additional 13.5 hours, which the complaint states was a violation of federal regulations on how many hours a person can drive a truck in a single day. In addition, the safety equipment in his truck may not have been in working order – the truck was equipped with automated brakes that should have activated when traffic slowed. Walmart may have neglected to properly test and maintain the system before letting the truck onto the road.
As personal injury attorneys know, truck accidents can be incredibly destructive. The drivers work long shifts that are not always regulated properly. More often than not, truck accidents involve multiple cars and serious injuries. If you are a driver in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, be aware of trucks when driving. If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident or car accident in DC, Maryland or Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation due to driver negligence. Contact the car accident attorneys at Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for a case evaluation today.