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Impact from Morgan truck crash may hit commercial truck industry

Illinois residents may be following reports of the truck accident involving Tracy Morgan and fellow comedian James McNair that have drawn a lot of attention to the commercial trucking industry. Many questions have been raised about the crash that now have to be answered, like how long the driver of the truck that struck Morgan's vehicle had been behind the wheel. In fact, some people have determined a new term for what may have caused the accident that day: drowsy driving.

It's been argued that the driver who was responsible for the June 7 truck crash may have not slept for over 24 hours before the impact on the New Jersey Turnpike. That's drawn attention to drowsy driving, which, according to the National Sleep Foundation, would be something to which commercial drivers would be especially susceptible.

Over time, there have been reports given about commercial drivers and their actions. In 1996, for instance, a study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claimed that data from a total of 80 commercial drivers showed that the drivers were getting, on average, only five hours of sleep per night. It could be argued that that's not enough sleep to be driving, and that could lead to accidents.

In 2013, legislators passed new guidelines that define when commercial drivers can work or take breaks. The guidelines also cut the number of hours truckers could work, making sure that there is enough time for the drivers to get some sleep. Previously, drivers could work up to 82 hours a week, leaving them only around 86 hours of time outside their jobs. Now, they can only work 70.

The possibility of danger from drowsy drivers is real, but some people want more information before creating new laws or regulations. If you find yourself the victim in cases like this, you do have a right to seek compensation. No one should be working outside federal guidelines; those guidelines are there for your safety.

Source: Guardian Liberty Voice, "Update: Tracy Morgan Accident Has High Impact," June 16, 2014.

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