One of the primary reasons that commercial truck accidents, such as tractor-trailer accidents, occur is because of driver fatigue. Commercial truck drivers are expected to work long hours—hours that are both exhausting and boring. The monotonous activity of driving can easily cause a driver to become tired and drift off to sleep, even for just a few seconds. These few seconds are all it takes to spell disaster for other drivers on the road. The large size and great weight of a commercial truck effectively turn it into a high-speed battering ram that can cause serious injuries or even death.
If you or someone you care about was injured in a truck accident in Atlanta, Georgia or the surrounding areas, experienced personal injury attorney John D. Hadden is here to help. You deserve to have your rights protected.
Atlanta, Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer
John D. Hadden focuses his practice on representing accident victims to ensure they get the best representation possible. He handles personal injury cases all around the state of Georgia, protecting the rights of victims. He has many years of experience handling catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims. His extensive trial experience is put to use for every client in order to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
Driver Fatigue: Dangerous & Deadly
Driver fatigue is one of the most dangerous contributing factors to commercial truck accidents in the United States. Tired drivers are less able to safely operate their trucks, making them a possibly deadly addition to American highways and roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 795 lives were lost due to drowsy driving in 2017. Approximately 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers.
According to a scientific study on sleep-related issues, those who experienced 28 hours of sleep deprivation suffered from the same performance defects as those who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.1%, a level considered as legally intoxicated by every state. Fatigue significantly reduces a driver's ability to safely drive, including:
- slower reaction times
- loss of consciousness
- poor decision making
- irritability and loss of temper (road rage)
Why This Happens to Truck Drivers
Every driver is susceptible to the effects of fatigue while behind the wheel, but truck drivers are especially susceptible because of their long hours. Drivers are sometimes expected to drive up to 18 hours at a time and could be obligated to do more, which would violate many regulations. Even when drivers do get breaks, they tend to be too short and too far in between. Combine this with the boring nature of driving hundreds of miles across country for days on end, it is easy to see how a driver could easily become fatigued.
Just because this happens to them, does not mean that they are excused from driving safely. If you were injured as a result of a truck driver's fatigue-related negligence, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one.
Regulations for Commercial Truck Drivers
Truck drivers and the companies that employ them are subject to plenty of different regulations as created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Many of these regulations deal with licensing, training, and much more. Of relevance here are the constantly-changing rules governing truck driver hours, including time required in between stints of driving, breaks, and more.
The following regulations are imposed on property-carrying truck drivers:
- 11-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty (property-carrying drivers), but only within a 14- hour window after the 10 hours off duty.
- May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since driver's last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes
- 60/70 Hour Limit within a 7/8 consecutive day period. Restarts after 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
The following regulations are imposed on passenger-carrying truck drivers:
- 10-hour driving limit after 8 consecutive hours off duty (property-carrying drivers), but only within a 15-hour window after the 8 hours off duty.
- 60/70 Hour Limit within a 7/8 consecutive day period. Restarts after 34 consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta Trucking Accident Attorney
Truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers can lead to catastrophic injury or death. When this is the case, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights.
Contact experienced Atlanta, Georgia trucking accident attorney John D. Hadden at the Hadden Law Firm today for a consultation.