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Boling Rice LLC
207 Pirkle Ferry Road
Cumming, Georgia 30040
Phone: (770) 887-3162

Cumming, GA Trucking Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

Businessman Sleeping While Driving CarCommercial trucks in Forsyth County can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. They are hard to maneuver and they are very hard to stop when traveling full speed down a highway or interstate freeway in the state of Georgia. Because of their reduced ability to react, fatigued drivers are particularly likely to have difficulty making quick life-saving decisions on the road. They may be less able to think clearly under pressure. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board has stated that truck driver fatigue may be a contributing factor in 30-40% of commercial truck accidents.

Hours of Service Rules

In December of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association[1] issued a new rule to stop fatigued driving by making changes to the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers. The rule was complicated but included two basic requirements.  The first requirement is that drivers take a 30-minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift so they can stay alert on the road.  The other requirement updated the use of the 34-hour rest period, known as the “restart”.  In the interest of safety, the 2011 rule restricted drivers to using the restart only once every seven days and it must include at least two periods of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Basically, it requires that drivers have the opportunity to take a very real rest and catch up on sleep before working another very long week.  The net effect of these changes was to reduce the average maximum week a driver could work from 82 hours to 70 hours.

Hours of Service violations can add to driver fatigue in many ways including:

  • The desire of truck drivers to make more money, which entails more driving than is legally allowed.
  • Trying to meet tight delivery deadlines, which again make the truck drivers drive more miles than is legally allowed.
  • Being ordered by the company to continue driving, without paying any heed to the complaints of the truck driver that he is just too exhausted to continue driving. In such situations, truck drivers follow the orders so as not to lose their jobs, but fail to understand that they can lose their lives if they get into an accident due to extreme fatigue.
  • Fatigue can cause the truck drivers to have hallucinations, fall asleep, and even reduce their mental capabilities. A fatigued truck driver may not be able to react to sudden situations capably enough, thus causing truck accidents, which could have been averted had the truck driver been rested and alert.

Other Factors Contributing to Truck Driver Fatigue

There are many factors that can add to truck driver fatigue other than violations of hours of service. The Truck Safety Coalition[2] and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety as well as other safety groups suggest that driver fatigue is created by aspects other than the present HOS rules:

  • Lack of adequate truck parking.
  • Dispatchers pushing employees to drive when they say they are either ill or tired.
  • Shippers and receivers holding drivers up at the docks for hours, cutting into their rest time.
  • Dispatch waking drivers to ask questions, failing to respect and abide by the HOS regulations.
  • Retaliation tactics from the carrier if drivers state that they are too fatigued to drive

Negligent Hiring or Supervision of a Georgia Truck Driver

The injuries after a truck accident caused by a driver’s fatigue may be catastrophic. For example, a truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel may kill multiple people in a single accident, and all those people may sue the driver for compensation. Although a truck driver is likely to be insured, the coverage under that policy may not be sufficient for catastrophic injuries or death, especially when there are multiple people injured or killed.

An experienced Cumming, GA truck accident attorney can pursue the truck driver’s employer for the greatest possible chance of recovering the full amount needed by an accident victim.

Call an Experienced Cumming, GA Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a commercial truck you likely sustained serious or even life-threatening injuries.  It is necessary to speak to an experienced Cumming, GA truck accident attorney who can determine if the truck driver and/or the company violated any Georgia or federal regulation.

References:

[1] https://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/why-we-care-about-truck-driver-fatigue
[2] http://trucksafety.org

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CUMMING, GA

Boling Rice LLC

207 Pirkle Ferry Road Cumming, Georgia 30040
Phone: (770) 887-3162

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Boling Rice LLC

750 Hammond Dr #300 Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Phone: (770) 744-0890

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