Morgan crash sparks debate over trucker fatigue

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Tracy Morgan crash has helped to put the national focus on trucker fatigue.

Police say the driver in that crash — that killed one man and critically injured the comedian Morgan and two others — hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours.

And despite statistics that say truck accidents have increased nearly 40 percent in the past few years, the U.S. Senate is set to take up legislation that expands the number of hours truckers can be on the road.

Connecticut’s two senators say the conversation is being driven by major trucking firms.

“Trucking interests that want nothing more than to fatten their bottom lines at the risk of drivers — truck drivers and ordinary car drivers,” said U.S.Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

The rules change that the Senate will consider next week would not only change the rules about trucker rest periods but would expand the current 60- to 70-hour workweek.

“It could increase their driving hours up to 82 hours in an eight-day period,” said John Capobianco of the Teamsters Union. “It’s crazy, it’s not safe.”

That’s a 14-hour workday with up to 11 of those hours driving.

“Fourteen hours a day is a long day,” said Tom Gaffney of Naugatuck. “I do pick up and delivery and it’s just too much, you get fatigued.”

News 8 also spoke with long-haul trucker Lee Hawthorne on the road. He also believes the current rules should stay in place.

“There is also a law that is out there within the federal Motor Carrier Act that if you are tired, you are mandated to pull over and rest,” he said.

And Hawthorne noted that a large percentage of fatal truck accidents are determined to be the fault of drivers in passenger cars and not the trucker.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s