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, has been sentenced to between 3 to 9 years in prison. Thomas Wallace admitted that he was distracted when he crashed his vehicle into a disabled car. In the car, was a 33-year-old mother, who had stopped 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 happened in the minutes before the crash. Wallace initially told investigators that he had not been able to spot the disabled car because he was checking traffic in his mirrors. He also denied that his computer was anywhere on the dashboard. However, tests by the Western New YorkRegional Computer Forensic Labs found that he had been watching online porn movies while driving just before the crash.
As the investigation progressed, it also became clear that Wallace had had very little sleep in the hours before the accident. In fact, he had had a maximum of 4 ½ hours of sleep during the 27 hours before the accident. That was in clear violation of federal Hours of Service rules. Wallace pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter on 25 May. He can expect to spend between 3 and 9 years in prison.
Trucking accidents can sometimes involve a confluence of more than one factor, like fatigue and distracted driving in this case. Both of these factors are hot-button issues right now. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently in the process of reviewing the Hours of Service rules for truck drivers. The federal administration has also been taking some steps towards limiting distractions in truck driver cabs. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation announced a ban on texting by truck drivers at the wheel.
However, there’s only so much that legislation can do. Truckers themselves need to take responsibility for their own actions, and trucking companies that employ them can do much towards that end.
The New York truck accident lawyers at Gentile and Godosky represent injured victims of commercial truck accidents in New York City and across New York State.