Driver Was Without Sleep for 28 Hours in Tracy Morgan Crash




Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) September 4, 2015 – According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the driver of a Walmart tractor-trailer that crashed into a limousine that was transporting comedian Tracy Morgan last June had not slept in more than 28 hours.

However, the board also stated that Morgan and other passengers contributed to the seriousness of the accident when they neglected to wear seatbelts and adjust headrests.

The accident occurred on June 7, 2014, at approximately 1 a.m. The Walmart driver struck Morgan’s limousine from the rear, and as a result, comedian James McNair was killed, and Morgan and three others were critically injured. NTSB chairman Christopher Hart stated at a board meeting that the passengers in the back of the rear compartment of the limousine were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. Additionally, they had not been given safety instructions on the advantages of seatbelts.

Prominent New Jersey personal injury attorneys Petrillo & Goldberg said, “Driver fatigue played a role in causing the accident, but the passengers’ failure to wear seatbelts was a contributing factor. Usually, when both parties are responsible, the theory of comparative negligence is applied to determine the percentage of fault attributed to each party.”

Following the collision with the Walmart truck, the limousine hit three additional vehicles, and rolled over to land on its side on the New Jersey Turnpike. Hart stated that since the limousine had been customized, there were no available exits for the passengers until emergency responders took off parts of a plywood panel. According to investigators, emergency responders, most of whom were volunteers, lacked the necessary training in order to deal with some of the problems emerging from the accident. In New Jersey, there is no required number of training hours that volunteer emergency responders must complete, nor is there a certification program.

The Walmart truck driver, Kevin Roper, subsequently faced charges of one count of vehicular homicide and many counts of assault by auto. Authorities believe he fell asleep while driving. Roper entered a plea of not guilty. In the weeks following the accident, the NTSB issued a preliminary report in which it was revealed that the truck was being driven at a speed of 65 mph, which is 20 mph in excess of the speed limit of 45 mph. Roper did not stop to sleep when he drove overnight from Georgia to a Walmart distribution center in Delaware. He had driven more than 800 miles.

Roper had been an employee of Walmart for 15 weeks, and had received nine “critical event reports,” which document unsafe driving behavior, including hard braking, and triggering of the truck’s stability control system. The board said that although Walmart offered advice to its drivers regarding the prevention of fatigue, it did not have a program in place that was aimed at ensuring that drivers received a sufficient amount of rest, and that they did not have exhausting schedules. Walmart has since implemented measures to inform drivers about fatigue, and has stated its intention to establish a program to minimize fatigue.

Learn more at Petrillo & Goldberg Law 6951 North Park Drive Pennsauken, NJ 08109 1333 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 70 South Broad Street Woodbury, NJ 08096 Phone: 856-486-4343 Fax: 856:486-7979