Maggie’s Law Makes Sleep Deprived Driving A Crime - My9 New Jersey

Maggie’s Law Makes Sleep Deprived Driving A Crime

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Sewell, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Much of the discussion surrounding the truck driver in the Tracy Morgan crash, Kevin Roper, suggests the fact that he was allegedly awake for 24 hours prior to the accident.

In 1997 Maggie McDonnell was killed in a car accident by a man who had been up for more than 30 hours and using drugs. The jury found that there was no law against sleep deprived driving and the driver who killed Maggie got off with $200 fine and a suspended license.

Carole McDonnell, Maggie’s mother, led the charge to make driving while sleep deprived a crime.

“The man that killed Maggie had not slept in 30 hours. He fell asleep at the wheel, crossed two lanes of highway, hit her head-on and received a $200 fine. There was no law and no justice that’s why there’s Maggie’s Law today,” she explained.

In 2003 Maggie’s Law, sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney passed so now anyone who causes a fatal accident after being awake for more than 24 hours can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Senator Sweeney agreed and issued a statement saying: “The driver is entitled to his day in court, but if the allegations are true, it is a reminder of why Maggie’s Law was necessary. Sleep deprivation can be just as hazardous as drugs and alcohol.”

“It’s upsetting that it happened to Tracy Morgan and all the other ones in the car with him, but now the nation sees first-hand what I saw 17 years ago,” McDonnell said.

Now, the crash involving Tracy Morgan and others has reopened the discussion about sleep deprived driving and whether or not driving tired is the same as driving drunk or high.


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