Tracy Morgan Collision Underscores Necessity for Truck Driving Regulation and Personal Injury Representation for Automobile Accident Recoveries

Comedian Tracy Morgan’s collision with a Walmart tractor- trailer, killing one passenger and injuring four in a six car chain reaction crash, on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, N.J, at one AM June 7, 2014 underscores the necessity for effective truck driving regulation and personal injury representation for catastrophic accidents.

“Congestion, fatigue, distraction contribute to horrific automobile accidents on our nation’s highways. Effective personal injury representation enables accident victims to  begin to recover from these catastrophic collisions,” Leonard G. Villari, Esq., partner, Villari, Lentz and Lyman, LLC remarked.

Since the June 7th collision with the vehicle transporting the Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock comedian, Walmart stated that it believes that driver Kevin Roper “was operating within the federal hours of service regulations” and that it will take responsibility pending investigation findings.

Morgan, his mentor James McNair, who died in the crash, were returning to their homes after performances at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware when the Walmart tractor trailer collided with and turned over their Mercedes Sprinter limousine. McNair performed as a comedian with stage persona of Jimmy Mack and Uncle Jimmy Mack.

So many are distraught at the collision that professional colleagues and peers Louis C.K and Judd Apatow are petitioning TMZ to remove video images of the wreck from its site.

Morgan’s injuries were so severe he remained in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for nearly two weeks till being transferred to a rehabilitation facility. “While he is continuing to show signs of improvement, he still has a long way to go. He and (fiancée) Megan (Wollover) wanted to publicly express their deepest gratitude to everyone at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for the unbelievable care and attention they provided him,” Morgan spokesman Lewis Kay said through a statement. 

Morgan’s celebrity is bringing fresh scrutiny to truck safety on America’s highways. Shortly after the collision, The New York Times editorialized against Senate legislation diluting federal regulations requiring adequate rest for truck drivers. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for beefed up truck collision insurance. “Truck insurance coverage must be raised to ensure that the victims of any such tragedy are compensated after being hurt,” Schumer said. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are sponsoring legislation to sustain adequate truck safety regulation. “The Booker Amendment seeks to uphold these rules, which simply ensure that drivers are not forced to work over 80 hours per week and have the opportunity to get two nights’ sleep during their limited time off,” Senator Booker’s office released in a statement.

The Walmart truck collision occurred within two months of an April 10 Fed Ex truck collision in California killing ten high school students in a school bus on their way to college recruitment.

In both cases, driver fatigue and exhaustion appear to be major causes. In the Morgan collision, high-tech collision avoidance systems in the truck cab did not deter a crash. New Jersey State Police issued a statement that the driver had not slept for 24 hours prior to the collision. The National Transportation Safety Board released preliminary findings that the driver had logged 13.5 hours of 14 hours legal driving limit and that he was speeding from a Bristol, Pennsylvania Walmart facility to a Perth Amboy, New Jersey Walmart facility approximately 25 miles from the collision at the time of the wreck, perhaps to adhere to compliance obligations. In the California school bus collision, the Fed Ex truck jumped a median and left no skid marks.

“Senator Schumer’s advocacy for adequate insurance coverage for truck accident victims merits speedy congressional enactment and presidential signature,” said Thomas A. Lynam, Esq., partner,  Villari, Lentz and Lyman, LLC.   “We applaud Senator Booker for focusing on safe highways during his first year in the Senate. With highways increasingly congested and tractor trailer drivers more and more fatigued, personal injury representation constitutes the surest way that accident victims can receive compensation for their injuries,” Lynam remarked.

If you, a family member or loved one is or has been injured in an automobile accident, please contact Philadelphia attorneys Villari, Lentz & Lynam, LLC. They stand ready to investigate and pursue all available civil damage remedies. Call (215) 568-1990 or complete the short form here.

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