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Auto Accidents

At Home and on the Road: The Need for Change

December 26, 2013 | Michael Barasch

We talked before about the danger of driving when tired and the number of people killed each year by fatigued truck drivers. Despite changes made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers are still tired, and the death toll marches on.

In February of this year, Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old La Grande, Oregon teen, committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. While the community and his family grieved, his father, Joe Bell, had a hard time accepting the senseless tragedy. Mr. Bell ultimately decided to set out on foot to spread the word about anti-bullying and suicide prevention.

Mr. Bell headed to New York City, the place his son had hoped to someday call home. Starting out in April, Mr. Bell thought it might take him two years to make it here, doing what he could to make the world a better place, depending on others he met along the way and hoping to find peace in himself.

The poignant story took another tragic turn in October of this year when Mr. Bell, walking by the side of the road in rural Colorado, was killed in a truck accident. The driver of a semi-truck fell asleep, leaving fate to steer his tractor-trailer directly into Mr. Bell, who died instantly.

The FMCSA rule changes were meant to:

  • Reduce accident fatalities by requiring truck drivers to get more sleep
  • Require drivers to take more breaks
  • Provide penalties for violating the rules

The driver who killed Mr. Bell was cited for careless driving resulting in death. Investigation may uncover whether the new FMCSA rules were violated.

FMCSA rule revisions may prove useful in reducing fatigued truck driving. The revisions did not help Joe Bell. If injured in a truck or car accident in New York, speak with an experienced injury attorney.

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