24 Hours Before Tracy Morgan Crash, U.S. Senate Voted to Relax Trucker Rest Rules
Here’s the latest on the awful crash that killed one man and critically injured three others, including comedian Tracy Morgan:
The truck driver who caused a six-car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one man and critically injured three others, including comedian Tracy Morgan, had not slept for 24 hours according to the complaint charging him with vehicular homicide.
The complaint charges that Kevin J. Roper, 35, of Georgia, was driving his tractor-trailer on the Turnpike in Cranbury early Saturday morning, “ without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours” before he struck the 2012 Mercedes van carrying Morgan, 45, who is in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
By the way, the trucker was driving a WalMart/Sam’s Club rig. Given WalMart’s reputation for horrible working conditions, I hate to think what kind of pressure he was working under.
Anyway, lookie here at what the United States Senate did last Thursday:
A Senate panel on Thursday approved an amendment that would nullify some of the federal rest requirements for truck drivers.
The amendment, which was opposed by the Obama administration and safety advocates, rolls back a requirement that drivers be given time off during specific hours of the night. The “restart requirements” were enacted in 2013 to reduce fatigue among drivers.
Specifically, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-9 to rescind portions of the rules that require truck drivers to take breaks between 1 and 5 a.m. on consecutive nights before they can work again. The amendment would also undo a rule that limits truck drivers to declaring only one “restart” per week.
The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has been sharply criticized by transportation safety groups for the effort to change the rules.
Lawmakers were under pressure from the trucking industry and business groups to eliminate the 1 to 5 a.m. requirement and the one-restart-per-week limit because the industries said the rules resulted in drivers having to take two full days off between shifts, in some cases.