The Chicago trucking accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have long known of the role that driver fatigue has on truck crashes and recent developments in the investigation into the cause of an accident that involved comedians Tracy Morgan and James McNair show that the driver’s violation of his hours of service requirement had a large role in the accident. While Tracy Morgan and the family of the deceased McNair have both come to agreements with Wal-Mart following the incident, the driver is still subject to mounting criminal charges that include multiple counts of vehicular homicide.
Driver Willfully Violated Hours of Service Law
Kevin Roper, the driver of the truck that caused the six vehicle accident, was in direct violation of a law that limits the amount of time that drivers may spend on the road and which requires an adequate rest period between each shift. The investigation revealed that prior to the accident, Roper had been awake for 28 hours straight and traveled 800 miles from his home before picking up his load in Delaware. When picking up the load, he was already nearing the end of the 14 hour limit and had the option to take a layover with pay instead of proceeding with the load as he did.
Had Roper taken the layover, he would have hit the road after a full night’s rest and been much more alert and focused on his duties. He chose to proceed, however, and was driving 20 mph over the posted speed limit at the time of the accident. Fatigue has effects that mimic drunkenness, including delayed reaction time and poor decision making. These are the contributing factors to why Kevin Roper was too slow to react to the brake lights ahead and it was simply too late by the time he took action to avoid the accident.
Driver fatigue is a common factor in many of the cases our Chicago truck injury lawyers take on, and this high profile case only further highlights the need of truck drivers and their employers to adhere to regulations and restructure driver pay so that drivers are not pressured to forge logs and work for longer periods than they should. In the aftermath of the accident, which involved six vehicles and 21 people, authorities have brought a long list of charges against Kevin Roper. These charges include speeding in a construction zone, vehicular homicide, assault by auto and the violation of regulations that limit the service hours of drivers.
Emergency Response Under Review
It was also revealed that the first responders to the scene of the accident were completely overwhelmed and that the overall response lacked coordination. Dispatchers delayed in sending additional resources and the teams arriving to the scene were sent from numerous jurisdictions and included emergency workers of varied experience levels. The disorganized response resulted in more serious injuries and may have contributed to the death of James McNair, who was trapped inside of the limousine. Due to a modification to the limo’s design, the only exit available was rendered inaccessible and responders needed to cut into the vehicle to pull the victims free.
All of these factors resulted in a slower response and extraction time. The safety board suggested that New Jersey consider training standards by which all emergency responders and volunteer organizations should abide by in the future to prevent the amount of confusion and disorder that prevailed during this incident from occurring in the future. Tracy Morgan and three other people suffered severe injuries and his injuries included a broken leg, nose and several ribs. Five other people reported injuries, all of which were considered minor.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC routinely represents the victims of similar accidents and have successfully recovered compensation on behalf of thousands of clients across Illinois for the payment of medical bills and the recovery of the value of lost wages, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering and other expenses arising from the injuries suffered in their accidents. To learn more about your rights and how we can assist you in recovering the maximum amount of damage in your claim, contact us today to arrange a risk-free case review.
A Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer from our firm will be happy to travel to you if you are unable to meet with us at one of our offices and will go over all of your legal options with you during your case evaluation. Since we only work on a contingency basis, you can be assured that you will not be required to provide us with attorneys’ fees unless we are able to secure damages on your behalf through a settlement or judgment in your favor.