Taking action against trucker fatigue

In this image from video the Wal-Mart truck involved in the crash of the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people is seen early Saturday morning June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike at the accident scene. Morgan remained hospitalized as state and federal officials continued their investigation of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that took the life of a Morgan friend and left two others seriously injured, authorities say. Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement a Wal-Mart truck was involved and that the company "will take full responsibility" if authorities determine that its truck caused the accident. (AP Photo/Will Vaultz Photography)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s U.S. Senators want to make sure rules to keep tired truckers off the roads stay in place.

Two weeks ago a fatigued truck driver crashed into the back of a limo bus on the New Jersey Turnpike, critically injuring comedian Tracy Morgan, and killing comedian James McNair. An NTSB report says that driver had been working for more than 13 hours, and was driving 20 mph over the speed limit.

Recent data shows that this is a major issue. According to officials:

  • Truck accidents increased by 40% between 2009 to 2012.
  • In that time nearly 4,000 people were killed in truck-related accidents across the country.
  • Studies by the U.S. Dept of Transportation show that 65% of truck drivers reported feeling drowsy while driving,
  • Nearly half reported falling asleep behind the wheel.

Earlier this month the senate appropriations committee voted to suspend new regulations aimed at combating truck driver fatigue. Some of those regulations include limits on drive times, work day hours and impose mandatory breaks.

This afternoon state lawmakers, law enforcement and road safety advocates will gather in hopes of stopping those regulations from being rolled back.

Sen. Blumenthal says regulations need to be strengthened, not weakened, which is the purpose of today’s press conference.

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