Fatal NJ Turnpike wreck begs questions about trucking regulations

The driver in the Tracy Morgan crash is accused of being awake for more than a day prior to the accident, which leaves many asking who is regulating the industry. (6/11/14)

LYNDHURST - The driver in the Tracy Morgan crash is accused of being awake for more than a day prior to the accident, which leaves many asking who is regulating the industry.

Bill Oliver, the owner of Jersey Tractor Trailer Training School points out important safety tips he enforces in the drivers he trains.  Most are not only smart practices: but the law. "I think probably 80 percent of the accidents and fatalities are from sleep," he says.

Criminal complaints say Kevin Roper was up for 24 hours when police allege his Wal-Mart truck slammed into the limo van carrying the comedian and his friends.

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The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, according to Oliver.  

According to instructor Antwan Smith, drivers on long hauls are supposed to sleep for at least 10 hours in between shifts. They are also supposed to keep log books, but it's a rule that's tough to enforce, says Smith.

New technology makes it more difficult for drivers to cheat the system and for law enforcement to track them. The instructors say it's best that drivers take safety into they own hands, by reporting what they see.

"The responsibility falls on the driver," Smith says.  

During inspections, police check trucks for safety violations and drivers for any sign of fatigue, or signs of being under the influence.

Truckers are now also required to take physicals every two years to ensure they are well enough to stay awake on long trips.

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