An incident where an 18-wheeler slammed into comedian Tracy Morgan’s limo bus – killing one and severely injuring Morgan, his opening act, Ardie Fuqua and tour manager – has sparked a debate on sleep-deprived drivers.
It was reported that the man behind the wheel of the semi was driving for at least 24 hours without pulling over on the New Jersey Turnpike, one of the most heavily traveled highways in the U.S.
According to the Institute of Medicine, nearly “20 percent of all serious car crash injuries in the general population are associated with driver sleepiness.”
Fatigue has very similar effects to alcohol consumption, and it has often been argued that the reaction time for an inebriated person and a sleep-deprived person are about the same.CNN:
Under New Jersey law, a driver can be convicted if there’s proof he had been without sleep for 24 hours when the accident occurred.
Proving he was sleep-deprived is crucial to get a conviction, in this case five to 10 years, legal analyst Paul Callan said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“It’s very important because otherwise, it’s just an ordinary accident,” he said. “Anybody can have an ordinary accident; we don’t take them off in handcuffs. In New Jersey, because it is so dependent on these big roads, sleep deprivation has been recognized as a form of recklessness and it’s criminal.”
However, Callan said, proving the trucker was sleep-deprived will be the difficult part.
“Maybe you can prove he was driving for a period of time, but how do you know he didn’t pull over by the side of the road and sleep? There’s only one way to find out — and that is if he confessed to it. “
While talking about this with my extremely wise and beautiful girlfriend, she made a valid point that everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone makes mistakes that could cost someone’s life.
If the accident was caused because Roper was driving without rest, he absolutely deserves to spend more than just a few years in jail. It’s a massive error in judgment and the fact that it could easily have been prevented is what makes it so inexcusable.