Collisions Caused by Truck Driver Fatigue in Georgia

The trucking industry is highly regulated by both state and federal agencies. Both tiers of protection seek to limit the amount of preventable accidents and injuries on Georgia roads. One of the main components of these efforts is the attempt to ensure truckers are trained, qualified, and properly licensed before they even turn the key. But the goal falls by the wayside if a trucker does not have the wherewithal to monitor the vehicle and the roadway while they drive.

Even the best driver is still a human needing sufficient rest to be able to react to sudden challenges that come up while driving a multi-ton vehicle at highway speed. However, economic pressures like being paid by the mile, striving for rapid delivery, and turnaround time influences drivers to operate when they should not.

Hours of Service Limitations

The current rule set in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding continuous operation is fairly convoluted, but the basic essence is as follows:

  • There is an eleven hour daily driving limit
  • Being "on duty" is limited to fourteen hours daily (includes loading/unloading, fueling, and inspections)
  • A ten hour rest period between driving shifts
  • A mandatory rest period after being on duty for sixty hours in a seven consecutive day period (if not operating everyday), or being on duty for seventy hours in an eight    consecutive day period (if operating everyday)
  • A thirty-four hour "restart" rest between seven or eight day maximums
  • These rules apply to anyone driving with a commercial motor vehicle license
These Limits are Widely Ignored

Despite clear dangers to truck drivers and those who share the road with them, hours of service limitations are routinely surpassed to bring in more money. A recent investigation conducted by the Journal of Public Health Policy revealed shocking disregard for the federal safety standards set out to combat driver fatigue.

Over thirty percent of drivers interviewed admitted (this is just the honest ones) driving longer hours than allowed within the month of the interview. Another six percent came clean and admitted they had surpassed hours of service regulations the previous month. A jaw-dropping two-thirds of drivers admitted to falsifying logbooks by underreporting the amount of hours they had driven at some point in the previous year. Almost twenty percent of drivers said they had fallen asleep while driving at least once during the preceding month.

The trek for the almighty dollar is not without casualties. Truckers refuse to abide by the law to the detriment of those around them. As early as 1983, the United States Department of Transportation released numbers saying that driver fatigue was most likely the source of over forty percent of serious trucking accidents, and was a partial source of another eighteen percent of trucking accidents. The Interstate Highway System reported later that the chance of an accident was almost doubled after eight hours of continuous driving.

Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Attorney

Remember, if you have been the victim of the negligent choices of a truck driver, you are not alone. If you or someone you know has been injured after a trucking accident contact the Persons Firm by calling 770 424 5125 immediately for a free consultation.