Federal Investigators Conclude Deadly Walmart Crash Was A Result Of A Drowsy Driving Accident
According to the federal investigation on the Tracy Morgan crash, extreme driver fatigue or a drowsy driving accident was the likely cause behind the June 2014 Walmart tractor trailer crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed comedian James McNair. The investigation revealed that the Walmart truck driver had driven 12 hours to work before starting his 14-hour driving shift without a rest in between. This has brought new light to a driving epidemic in the United State of drowsy driving accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, drowsing driving accidents cause over 1,500 deaths per year.
On June 7, 2014, a Walmart truck crashed into the back of the limo van just before 1 A.M. The van was carrying seven people, four of which were seriously injured and one of which was killed. Tracy Morgan was left with several broken bones and a brain injury.
The NTSB accident report stated that the Walmart truck driver was driving 65 mph in a construction zone with a posted speed limit of 45 mph. The driver failed to brake in time when it came upon the limo van carrying Tracy Morgan. The driver rear-ended the limo.
Previous investigations stated that the truck driver was asleep at the wheel and may had been driving longer than the 14-hour shift allowed by Walmart. However, the NTSB investigation revealed that the driver had been awake for 28 hours straight before the crash. . [http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/11/us/ntsb-tracy-morgan-crash/, August 2015]
According to a 2005 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult drivers report feeling drowsy while driving within the past year. 37 percent of people report falling asleep at the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that about 100,000 crashes are caused by drowsy driving accidents. Up to 30 percent of all crashes are estimated to be caused by drowsy driving. The NHTSA estimates that drowsing driving accidents cause 1,500 deaths per year and over $12.5 billion in damage costs. [http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/, August 2015]
In response to the drowsing driving accident involving Tracy Morgan, Walmart has instated a policy requiring drivers to live within 250 miles of the office where they report for work or be at the office nine hours before their shift is scheduled to begin. Walmart has also pledged to implement a “fatigue management program” that will educate drivers about the dangers of driver fatigue and how to manage fatigue. The NTSB has stated it wants the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to implement these safety steps for all trucking companies nationwide. Walmart and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration hope these efforts cut down on the number of drowsy-related accidents that occur each year.
The NHTSA states that drivers can avoid dangerous drowsy driving accidents by implementing the following changes:
Do not drive for more than 10 hours in a day.
Stop frequently for exercise breaks while taking long trips.
Avoid driving later than 10PM.
If you start yawning or feeling drowsy, pull over immediately to the side of the road or get a hotel for the night until you are rested.
Sleep 7-9 hours each night.
With these new regulations THE NHTSA hopes to vastly reduce the number of drowsy driving accidents each year. Until then, drivers can do their part to reduce fatal driving accidents by implmenting the safety tips outlined above and encouraging others to prevent drowsy driving.