A well-known actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan, is in critical condition after the limo van he was riding in was hit by a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike around one in the morning on June 7, 2014. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Kevin Roper, is a Walmart employee. Roper is facing several charges including one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
James McNair, another comedian riding with Morgan, was killed and several others were injured. The crash involved four other vehicles.
According to the New Jersey State police who spoke to CNN, “The driver of the tractor-trailer failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead.” He apparently “swerved” to avoid the limo bus, but couldn’t, and the limo bus overturned.
Example of How Dangerous Irresponsible Truck Drivers Can Be
The New York Daily News alleged the words “It’s my road move or get hit!” were found on an earlier version of a Twitter account in Kevin Roper’s name. Apparently, a friend confirmed this was Roper’s Twitter account, but a Walmart spokeswoman denied Roper had one.
Certainly not all accidents are caused by truck drivers, but this accident sparks concern. It also struck a cord with the National Transportation Safety Board. On June 8, 2014, following the accident, the Associated Press, said the NTSB said it “is working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limo safety.”
In April 2014, the NTSB made several safety recommendations pertaining to tractor-trailers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) including:
• Newly manufactured trailers with weight ratings over 10,000 pounds come with “side underride protection systems”
• Make sure “rear underride protection systems provide protection of passenger vehicle occupants from fatalities and serious injuries resulting from full-width and offset trailer rear impacts”
• Newly manufactured truck-tractors with weight ratings over 26,000 come with “side underride protection systems”
The NTSB also requested “accurate trailer data for motor vehicles involved in police-reported crashes” to help improve highway safety.
Staying Safe on the Road
During the summer months there is more traffic on all roads across the country. The NHTSA released an advisory on May 23, 2014 citing ways drivers can stay safe, regardless of what type of vehicle they are driving or riding in:
• Check your tires. This includes the tread, air pressure and making sure you have a spare tire in your car.
• Do not use alcohol or drugs before operating any kind of vehicle.
• Always wear your seatbelt. Your life can be saved by buckling up.
• If you are traveling with a child make sure they are in the proper car seat or booster seat and never leave anyone alone in a hot car.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.