A new report into the crash that critically injured funnyman Tracy Morgan and killed comedian James McNair has revealed that the Peterbilt semi that caused the accident was traveling at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. It's also alleged that the truck driver behind the wheel of the semi ignored construction signs and drops in the speed limit leading up to the traffic backup where the accident occurred.

The report, filed by the National Transportation Safety Board, also indicated that the driver of the semi, 35-year-old Kevin Roper (pictured above at his first court appearance), had been awake for over 24 hours and was approaching the maximum amount of time federal regulations allowed him to be behind the wheel.

The NTSB report isn't necessarily focusing on Roper's total time behind the wheel – which sat at just over 9.5 hours, out of the 11 the federal law allows before drivers must rest. Instead, it's focusing on how long Roper, a Georgia resident that commutes some 700 miles to his trucking gig in Delaware, was awake before the fatal accident.

While it scarcely needs reminding, being awake for over 24 hours can have a dramatic effect on reaction times, with one study from the University of Pennsylvania finding that 28 hours without sleep is has the equivalent effect on reaction times of a 0.01-percent blood-alcohol concentration. If Roper was really awake over 24 hours, it's a fair bet that his reaction speed was at least somewhat impaired.

Morgan's Sprinter was hit by the Peterbilt, and collected a pair of additional cars in the wreck before flipping and landing on its side, across the outside and center lanes.


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  • 27 Comments
      DAiNiUS
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's not 0.01 BAC but rather 0.1 BAC.
        stonehunte
        • 6 Months Ago
        @DAiNiUS
        I was going to say that doesn't sound right. I'd be in much worse condition after 28 hours with no sleep, than after drinking half a beer.
      Schwy
      • 6 Months Ago
      I work the construction site on that stretch of the Turnpike. To be fair, not a single person heeds the warning signs or comes even close to driving the speed limit.
      LCC
      • 6 Months Ago
      Since more and more freight started being shipped longer distances on our roads by truckers, and less by train, our roads and bridges are tearing up faster, more accidents are happening and the cost of goods have gone up.
      Bernard
      • 6 Months Ago
      When I drive tired I tend to speed up. That's the only thing that keeps me awake. Then again a 6hr drive would kill me even on 8hrs of sleep, much less a 9.5hr drive after 28hrs of being awake.
      dukeisduke
      • 6 Months Ago
      A seven-hundred mile commute? Sounds like this guy should have either moved to Delaware, or found a job closer to home. Insane.
      jjdaddyo
      • 6 Months Ago
      In his defense, 20 mph over the limit on the Jersey Turnpike is basically just keeping up with traffic, most of the time.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jjdaddyo
        Exactly and construction signs are useless because 99% signs are there but there's no actual construction.
        AutoVido
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jjdaddyo
        Wow, really? That's 32 km/hr over the speed limit. Here in Toronto, +20 km/hr for cars seems the norm on a clear, low-traffic day. Thankfully truck have speed limiters, so they keep right, going around 105 km/hr.
      Ricky
      • 6 Months Ago
      The guy was already doing a tough job to begin with. I'm really feeling for him. Everybody makes mistakes.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ricky
        I'll gladly pay more for consumer goods to dramatically reduce the weight they tow and the hours they drive. They're destroying our roads and any time there is an accident with a large truck...anyone in a standard automobile pays dearly.
        SloopJohnB
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ricky
        His mistake was to drive/stay awake for almost 24 hours. Another mistake is his almost gross obesity.
          delsolo1
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          It comes with the job just like right wing broadcasting
      H.E. Pennypacker
      • 6 Months Ago
      whenever i drive long distance i try to use highways that prohibit commercial traffic. no trucks makes a much more pleasant, and maybe safer, drive.
      Stinkyboy
      • 6 Months Ago
      this guy should be forced to drink the contents of Tracy Morgans puss bag.
        Joseph
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Stinkyboy
        Don't worry, the legal system will have its way with this man, right now big trucks are the enemy and the government is on a roll to make an example of him. It seems inexcusable to be up for so long before reporting for work, but a 700 mile commute, sounds like he dose not have a lot of choices or made some pretty bad ones, I don't know what kind of a traffic record he has, but this a career ender that will have him paying for a long time. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of bad actors out there and they need to off the road, but I highly doubt that this man said , today I am going to kill someone.
      delsolo1
      • 6 Months Ago
      Just wonder if his employer was guilty of pushing him to the limit.
      SethG
      • 6 Months Ago
      If the information regarding the speed limit and construction zone signs are correct, I'm not sure that the impact lack of sleep has on reaction times is of concern here. Maybe lack of sleep created a situation where the driver was less aware of the signage. But had he been traveling 20 mph slower as indicted, reaction time would have been less of a factor.
        johnnyhedwardsjr
        • 6 Months Ago
        @SethG
        His lack of sleep could have allowed him to totally miss reading the signage and adjusting his speed according to the current situation. I have been glazed over before and kind of in and out of consciousness while driving and I literally have missed my exit before. If something would have happened while I was going in and out it would have been over for me. Not to mention when I was 16 I fell asleep behind the wheel and ran off the road and into a wall... With no airbags.
      SloopJohnB
      • 6 Months Ago
      Fat boy hits fat boy. It's not so much the reaction time, but the attention span decrease that a 24 hour wake period grips you…you can manage to stay within the white lines but it takes quite a bit of time if ever to react to an unexpected much less gradual change.
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