Basic physics explains that large heavy objects moving at high speed need more distance to stop than smaller, lighter objects. Otherwise, the large heavy object can damage or destroy the smaller object. This isn’t only true in the classroom, it is very true in real life, especially on our streets and highways.
On June 7, 2014 on a dark stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike, a tragic turn of events occurred. On that night, a Walmart semi-truck crashed into a limo van in which comedian, Tracy Morgan, and several of his friends were passengers. The semi driver was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit as he approached a construction zone. As the semi approached the limo van, it slammed into the van, causing it to flip on its side. Tracy Morgan was badly injured and his friend and mentor, James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed.
The driver of the Walmart truck had been awake for more than 28 hours straight. He had already driven over 800 miles before heading on this trip. Obviously, this crash was caused by driver fatigue, which is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States. This high profile case even caused the National Trucking Safety Board (NTSB) to look more closely at truck driving limits.
As of now, truckers are only allowed a 14 hour limit on duty. During this 14 hour time span they are only allowed to drive for 11 hours. They are also required to take a mandatory 30 minute break after being on duty for 8 hours. After a truck driver has been on duty for 14 hours, they then must take a 10 hour rest period, before beginning another on duty period. As the Tracy Moran case illustrates, these limits are important to the safety of not only the drivers themselves, but everyone else on the road.
There are several important facts to consider that can help keep you and your loved ones safe when driving on the road with large trucks. First, most large trucks tend to weigh over 10,000 pounds. Always remember that it can take twice as long for a semi truck to stop than a passenger vehicle. Second, semi trucks have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Do not follow too closely behind a large truck. Also, please keep in mind that it is very dangerous to pass a large truck on its right side, as this is where their largest blind spot is located.
If you or a loved one has been in a trucking accident and needs legal advice, call our office today. We at Greene and Schultz provide a complimentary consultation and we specialize in large trucking accidents.