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Fatigued, Distracted New York Truck Driver Sentenced to 3 to 9 Years in Fatal Accident

The truck driver, who admitted that he was tired and distracted watching porn on his laptop computer during a fatal crash in NewYork last year, hasbeen sentenced to between 3 to 9 years in prison. Thomas Wallace admitted that he wasdistracted when he crashed his vehicle into a disabled car. In the car, was a 33-year-old mother, who hadstopped her vehicle after hitting a deer. The truck slammed into the disabled car, killing the woman instantly.

Investigators managed to piece together exactly what had happenedin the minutes before the crash. Wallaceinitially told investigators that he had not been able to spot the disabled carbecause he was checking traffic in his mirrors. He also denied that his computer was anywhere around the dashboard. However, tests by the Western New YorkRegional Computer Forensic Labs found that he had been watching online pornmovies while driving just before the crash.

As the investigation progressed, it also became clearthat Wallace had had very little sleep in the hours before the accident. In fact, he had had a maximum of 4 ½ hours ofsleep during the 27 hours before the accident. That was in clear violation of federal Hours of Service rules. Wallace pleaded guilty to charges of seconddegree manslaughter on 25 May. He canexpect to spend between 3 and 9 years in prison.

Trucking accidents can sometimes involve a confluence of morethan one factor, like fatigue and distracted driving in this case. Both of these factors are hot button issuesright now. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currentlyin the process of reviewing the Hours of Service rules for truck drivers. The federal administration has also beentaking some steps towards limiting distractions in truck driver cabs. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportationannounced a ban on texting by truck drivers at the wheel.

However, there's only so much that legislation cando. Truckers themselves need to takeresponsibility for their own actions, and trucking companies that employ them,can do much towards that end.

The New Yorktruck accident lawyers at Gentile and Godosky represent injured victims ofcommercial truck accidents in New York City and across New York State.

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