It was riding on the cutting edge of truck safety technology. Yet the Wal-Mart rig that rammed the chauffeur-driven van carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and friends last week still killed a man and nearly took Morgan’s life as well.
Portland fans of the comic have undoubtedly been relieved in recent days to learn that his medical condition has been upgraded from critical to fair. They might be grateful to learn, too, that the truck accident has sparked renewed government interest in the safety of the thousands of 18-wheelers rolling on our nation’s highways.
According to Wal-Mart officials, the truck in the accident was outfitted with a radar-guided collision-avoidance system that would begin braking the tractor-trailer on its own when it sensed slowed traffic ahead.
The truck’s computer system included blind spot sensors, electronic speed controls and a notification device to let the driver know of traffic slowdowns. And yet the sophisticated safety gear apparently proved useless because, officials said, the driver of the truck had not slept in more than 24 hours before the crash that flipped the van carrying Morgan.
One man inside the vehicle died and Morgan was in critical condition afterwards.
Now the National Transportation Safety Board is joining the New Jersey State Police in an investigation of the crash on the Garden State’s famed Turnpike.
“The NTSB is focusing on broader issues concerning commercial truck safety, such as vehicle maintenance, medical qualifications, drug and alcohol testing of drivers, driver fatigue, equipment and technology,” a spokesperson said.
According to officials tracking truck safety, fatalities involving large trucks have been climbing since 2009. More than 3,900 people died in the crashes in 2012, according to the most recent data available.
After a truck accident takes the life of a loved one or causes serious injuries to innocent motorists, our legal system leaves it up to victims to pursue justice with the help of an experienced attorney.