The trucker accused of causing the accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed his friend, denies he had been awake for more than 24 hours. But, as April Woodard reports, the tragedy has put the spotlight on drowsy drivers on our nation's highways.
Drowsy driving can be deadly.
Video captured a cabbie who gets sleepy and actually begins to nod off at the wheel. When he crashed he gets thrown into back seat. Incredibly, he wasn't injured.
In another video, a white SUV swerves on a Colorado highway and captured the driver right behind the wheel. She was literally asleep at the wheel. And she drove like that for thirty miles at high speeds, fighting off sleep, struggling to stay awake before she was finally pulled over by police.
Robert Sinclair is the spokesman for the New York AAA. He told INSIDE EDITION, "Sleep deprivation is akin to being drunk. To having a .08 blood alcohol level."
The driver of the Walmart truck that plowed into Tracy Morgan's limo bus denies he was sleep deprived. Walmart is backing him up, saying, "It is our belief that Mr. Roper was operating within the federal hours of service regulations."
But there's no question, sleeping truck drivers are a danger on the road. In 2012 nearly 13,000 injuries and over 500 deaths were caused by sleep-deprived truckers.
Ed Slattery lost his wife in 2010 to a sleepy trucker. His two young sons suffered grievous injuries in the accident.
Slattery told INSIDE EDITION, "Every single day, multiple people are killed in crashes with commercial motor vehicles. Over a million people every decade are killed or maimed in crashes with commercial motor vehicles. No industry in in America would get away with that except the trucking industry and that has got to change."
Rob Abbott represents the American Trucking Association. His organization is lobbying Congress to allow truckers to work even more hours each week.
Abbott said, "The rules provide time to rest but it's up to the individuals to use that time responsibly to get rest. So people have to use that time to get rest and not drive while they're tired. They have a personal responsibility to do that."
For Tracy Morgan and his friends, an allegedly sleepy trucker on a busy highway appears to have been a recipe for disaster.