Safety & Compliance

Walmart Blames Tracy Morgan for Failing to Wear Seat Belt

September 30, 2014

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Comedian Tracy Morgan in 2009. Photo: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.
Comedian Tracy Morgan in 2009. Photo: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

In a response to a lawsuit against Walmart related to an accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan and a Walmart tractor trailer, Walmart stated that Morgan and the other passengers involved in the crash disregarded their own safety by choosing not to wearing seat belts.

“By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seat belts, upon information and belief, plaintiffs acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs own best interests,” stated Walmart.

The statement is part of Walmart’s defense case that the company is not liable for damages because the plaintiffs failed to ensure their own safety, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.

The accident occurred on June 7 when a limousine carrying Morgan was struck from behind by a Walmart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident killed one of the limousine passengers and seriously injured Morgan. The crash occurred at 1 a.m. local time and involved 6 vehicles.

In Morgan’s lawsuit, lawyers for him and three other claim the Walmart driver was fatigued at the time of the crash, having been awake for more than 24 hours beforehand.

The National Transportation Safety Board earlier released its preliminary report of its investigation into the crash, showing the truck driver was traveling well beyond the posted speed limit but appeared to be within legal hours of service.


  1. 1. Jean [ October 01, 2014 @ 07:00AM ]

    It is truly an unfortunate situation, however accidents do happen, most people exceed the posted speed limit, alot of people don't wear seat belts, and alot of drivers drive tired (even if they are legal). Having said that in today's world it's all about finding faults. If Walmart can prove any percentage of negligence of the other party it will benefit them. I'm sure they will pay dearly, but sharing negligence is what it's all about in todays world. I'm sorry Mr. Morgan and his friends had to go though such an ordeal. I wish them all well.

  2. 2. Jim [ October 01, 2014 @ 07:44AM ]

    It is very unfortunate that accidents happen. The driver appeared to be "within legal hours of service" and this still happened. Maybe there is a flaw in the rules regarding hours of service. They say this driver had been "awake for more than 24 hours" at the time of the accident. With the current hours of service rules, it prohibits drivers from taking breaks throughout the day if they are tired and if they intend to get their job done for the day. Possibly, if the rules would be flexible and allow a driver to take a 3 or 4 hour nap during the day, and work past his/her 14th hour since he/she came on duty, this driver could have gotten some needed rest and avoided the accident altogether. The current hours of service are, in certain areas, contradictory to safety in reality. For the most part, drivers know when they are tired, but they will get penalized if they take a break in the middle of their shift!

  3. 3. Justmemyownself [ October 01, 2014 @ 08:36AM ]

    Nice to see Walmart is run by a bunch of children who only know how to play the blame game when obviously they are at fault. Even if they had been wearing seat belts, there still would have been injuries and damages.... It all falls down to a Walmart employee speeding and driving in a negligent manner. Walmart needs to grow up and take responsibility for their own people... not blame the victims. Seriously. What jerks.

  4. 4. Owner-Operator [ October 01, 2014 @ 09:25AM ]

    Really??? A 3 to 4 hour nap during the day??? Now that's efficient; maybe the driver shouldn't have been exceeding the speed limit and focused a little more on safety. It's drivers like this that give the rest of us a bad name. The sad truth is, is that's the majority of truck drivers now days. The professionalism has gone out the window!

  5. 5. Glen [ October 01, 2014 @ 10:42AM ]

    I like the comments of Jean and Jim. Very sorry for Mr. Morgan and I wish him and his friends well. I think that in every situation there is plenty of blame to go around. Every person involved in the situation should step back and look at what they should have done different. However, that is not the world that we live in today. Instead, people point out the faults in others. I don't blame Walmart at all. They are just trying to protect their own just like I would do for all my drivers working with me. I understand the need on occasion to take a short (3-4hr) nap during the day. And I agree completely that it isn't an option for a truck driver no matter how bad their night was last night or how drowsy they are. The fact is they are limited to the hours they can drive and be on duty beginning with their start time. There should definitely be a provision in the law to accommodate situations like this, unfortunately for us this will basically mean more paperwork and documentation.
    He shouldn't have been speeding. They should have been wearing safety belts. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, Every time I hear somebody griping about another person, I think to myself ....." so you have never gone above the speed limit before? You always wear a safety belt everywhere you go (even in a limo)?"

  6. 6. Gonzo [ October 01, 2014 @ 03:17PM ]

    This accident was clearly the result of the use of an ELDs. Not only was he distracted by it, he was well aware of it's unforgiving nature.

  7. 7. juan robledo [ October 01, 2014 @ 03:18PM ]

    Well like many who commented on this so far, Walmart is still liable for the wreck if the passengers were not wearing their seatbelts, the lawyers will give it all they got to swag the court on who is the blame Tracy Morgan and his other friends did not plan on getting hit and the vehicle turning over, the driver for Walmart should have exercised better judgment on how he felt that night, driving tired is recipe for disaster, the driver knew that when he decided to drive tired, it's time to stop pointing the finger and accept the responsibility for being in the wrong, and all passengers in any vehicle should always buckle up for this very situation, Walmart pay up and move on, otherwise you will look like idiots in the end and apologize to all that were hurt and lost their lives

  8. 8. Tim laskowski [ October 01, 2014 @ 03:38PM ]

    Well,did you see the van was ripped open on the side? If the passengers were straped in it could have possibly been worse. Just a thought.

  9. 9. TruckMike [ October 02, 2014 @ 07:08AM ]

    If in this accident someone not famous been involved, would the nation have noticed?

    Would the NTSB got involved??

    Let's wait and see all the facts before anyone makes judgment.

  10. 10. Oreoman [ October 02, 2014 @ 08:51AM ]

    This was not a limousine. This was a converted cargo van. I would suspect different crash standards etc.


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