The Walmart HOS case has become the poster child case for HOS compliance. A myraid of other cases have spawn from this and will continue to do so. Today's developments address the driver.
Do you think the driver will avoid all charges? Do you think he should be found guilty or innocent of at least contributing to the accident?
My main issue with this case is the driver's actions prior to the start of his shift and the fact that Walmart did not have the foresight to prohibit the driver from driving.- The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report that Roper had driven more than 700 miles to start his shift at a Delaware warehouse just before he began a series of deliveries that took almost 11 more hours on the road.
As a professional driver, you have to NOT do such things. You must be ready and rested to return to work. Driving from GA to DE immediately prior to the shift is not rested. He should have done that the night before.
Walmart, and all carriers, need to have an idea of what their drivers are doing during their off time as they are accountable for those actions. This is hard and it is intrusive but we see, again, what occurs when carriers do not intervene. The same could have happened with a driver working a second job or even overly extending themselves during a volunteer session such as building homes at Habitat for Humanity. All valuable and just causes but one must consider the consequences of their choices. Professional drivers cannot be risk takers. Their choices affect the lives of many others; case in point.
How do we, as an industry and as a society, prevent these occurrences? How do carriers monitor their driver's off time? How do carriers ensure their drivers are ready for duty and not just dispatch them because the clock has ticked? What are we all doing to make our best efforts for a safer highway?
IMO - this driver's actions were wrong. There may have been extenuating circumstances but they were still wrong. Walmart was wrong and the way the situation was handled was wrong. This needs to be a learning experience for drivers and carriers.
We sit here as a group of safety professionals; how can change things to prevent a re-occurrence?
Finally; if this driver applied for a job at your fleet - would you hire him? Is he already guilty in the news and unemployable?
Would any of this be news if Tracy Morgan (or another star) was not involved?
Love to hear your thoughts and comments.