Millions of people were shocked over the weekend to learn that the much beloved comedian, Tracy Morgan was fighting for his life. Though it looks like Morgan will make a full recovery, he was airlifted to a hospital when a tractor trailer rammed into the limo bus he was riding in. One of the others in the bus with the comedian was not as fortunate.
The driver of the truck, a Wal-Mart owned rig, is in jail with bail set at $50,000, according to Fox News. He faces charges of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The investigation continues, but authorities reported that it appeared as though the trucker failed to see the slowed traffic ahead until the last moment. He did make some effort to correct his course, but it was too late and the truck wiped out the back end of the limo bus. They are now discussing how many hours straight he had already driven before the accident.
Morgan was one of two taken by helicopter to the hospital in critical condition. It is highly likely that personal injury attorneys will be involved soon. Wal-Mart representatives report that they are prepared to accept responsibility if it is determined that the truck was the cause.
Lawyers in St. Petersburg are pointing to this accident as a reminder to the general public that distracted driving can be a fatal mistake. A driver that takes his eyes from the road for mere seconds, regardless of the reason, can travel the distance of an entire football field essentially blind to sudden obstacles, which is very likely what happened in this case.
The latest news reports indicate that Morgan is still in critical condition, but friends of the family report that he is responsive and showing signs of improvement. The family of Tracy Morgan and the families of others involved in the crash are now forced to face a healing process. Most people are aware that drunk driving can leave people seriously injured or dead, but distracted driving is almost an accepted norm. This news story, however, points to the fact that it can be just as fatal.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about distracted driving and the recognition of its existence is a positive step forward. Drivers in Saint Petersburg and throughout the rest of the country should be aware of the devastating accidents that can occur because people take their focus off the road while behind the wheel. According to distraction.gov, more than 3,000 people die every year as a result. To make matters worse, there seems to be a widespread misunderstanding related to this topic. Though texting while driving is a major issue and a common form of distraction on the road, it is hardly the only example.
Even simple conversation can be enough to distract a driver. Several states have outlawed cell phone use behind the wheel. However, the invention of Bluetooth technology has given many people a false sense of security. Studies have repeatedly found that hands-free phone calls are just as risky as holding the phone. Conversation demands brain power, which takes some level of focus off the road. Furthermore, people are relying on voice-to-text technology to continue written communication while driving. However, in a report by ABC News, it was clearly stated that it is not any safer than the traditional type-to-text. Kids, smartphones, food, make-up, movies, and multiple other distractions are demanding that drivers multi-task like never before. The outcome, unfortunately, is all too often seen in headlines like that about Tracy Morgan.