(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) announcement that the cause of last year’s crash involving comedian Tracy Morgan was due to the truck driver’s suffering from severe driver fatigue, which impaired his ability to adequately respond to surrounding traffic:
“Today’s meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board underscores a sad and tragic fact we already know: a tired trucker is a dangerous driver, capable of turning a big rig into a killing machine. Allowing more tired truckers on our roads will only lead to more accidents like the horrific accident that injured Tracy Morgan last year. Despite my efforts to make our roads safer and ensure that truckers get adequate rest, the Senate last month permanently exempted many truck drivers from fatigue rules. Then, in one of its last acts before leaving Washington, the Senate passed a transportation bill full of special interest gifts to the trucking industry – most troubling of which would allow 18-year olds to drive these monster trucks on little rest. We can and must do better. Lives depend on it.”
Blumenthal has been an outspoken opponent of industry efforts to roll back requirements that ensure truck drivers get adequate rest. In December 2014, he and his colleague Cory Booker (D-N.J.) urged then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reject any legislation that would reverse truck safety efforts, noting the extreme safety risk associated with roll-backs and the fact that law enforcement, safety advocates, and victims opposed the roll back. Most recently, last month Senator Blumenthal fought against efforts to permanently exempt many drivers from fatigue regulations.