Truck Driver Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter For Driving While Sleep-Deprived And On Methamphetamines
There’s a reason we strongly favor laws that require all truckers use GPS tracking systems: as we see all the time in our work representing victims in truck accident lawsuits, without those systems, truck drivers have an incentive to bend the rules, to drive far longer - and thus without enough sleep - than they should.
Yesterday in New Jersey state court in New Brunswick, a 25-year-old former truck driver from Pennsylvania plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter and assault charges arising from a fatal accident that killed a father and seriously injured his wife and 11-year-old child. The accident occurred at 7am on Route 18: the truck driver had been driving all day and all night, hadn’t slept enough, and so had taken methamphetamine to stay awake. Meth isn’t a replacement for sleep - the driver ran a red light, running directly into the family’s SUV.
Under the plea bargain agreement, he was sentenced to 8 years, and won’t be released until at least 7 years are served. Although we hope the verdict will send a warning to other truck drivers, the truth is that meth use remains an epidemic among truck drivers, and has been since the 1960s. Earlier this year, a truck driver in California killed himself - and almost killed a woman and her two children - under the influence of so much meth that the coroner believes the truck driver was probably hallucinating.
Until the law makes it impossible for truck companies to encourage and to allow truck drivers to keep driving long after they should have stopped and gone some sleep, we’re going to keep seeing these types of accidents.