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Atlanta Truck Accidents Lawyer
Truck accidents are the most devastating accidents that occur on our roads. A vehicle with a gross weight over 10,000 lbs. is considered a large truck and many tractor-trailers weigh in excess of 80,000 lbs. Because these commercial vehicles often weigh 20 – 30 times more than passenger cars, accidents involving a tractor-trailer or other large commercial trucks are more likely to result in death or serious injury.
In Georgia, I-285 was recently named the deadliest highway in the United States, in part due to a large amount of commercial vehicle traffic. If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer or other large truck, you need an experienced Atlanta truck accident lawyer to represent you.
What Causes Trucking Injuries?
The Large Truck Causation Study was undertaken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is based upon a nationally representative sample of almost 1,000 injury crashes. The study found that a number of factors are at play in a trucking injury crash, and typically involve the following:
- Driver fatigue and hours of service;
- Vehicle Maintenance and Inspections;
- Driver’s Working Environment;
- Environmental Factors;
- Truck Driver Performance;
- Vehicle Design and Load;
- Truck Driver Licensing and Monitoring; and
- Truck Driver Training and Experience.
Fatigued driving – driving while drowsy or with low energy – is a serious threat. Fatigued driving reduces reaction times creating further and unwarranted risk to everyone on the roadways. Please contact us online or call Ponton Law today at (404) 418-8507 if you have been injured by a driver who acted recklessly and drove while fatigued.
Driver Fatigue Statistics
According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of surveyed drivers had driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy and 37% of the surveyed drivers had fallen asleep while driving during the previous year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that “100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.” The NHTSA found that these accidents resulted in an estimated:
- 1,550 deaths,
- 71,000 injuries, and
- $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Is Fatigued Driving a Problem for Truck Drivers?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 4,000 people die in semi-truck crashes each year with driver fatigue as a leading factor. Because fatigued driving is such a serious issue with commercial truck drivers, rules have been put in place to regulate the amount of time semi-truck drivers can go without having to stop to rest. These rules include:
- Truck drivers are limited to a maximum average work week of 70 hours, (previously this had been a maximum of 82 hours);
- Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift; and
- Truck drivers have an 11-hour daily driving limit and a maximum 14-hour work day.
Because fatigued driving is such a serious issue, there are serious consequences for those who break these rules. Commercial freight companies that allow drivers to exceed driving limits can be fined $11,000 per offense. Furthermore, the drivers themselves could face penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
What Causes Fatigued Driving and How Can it Be Prevented?
Remaining alert is critical to safe driving. 18-wheeler drivers have difficult jobs that are both physically and mentally demanding. Long drives, often with no companionship, can create unsafe environments when the truck drivers become fatigued. However, drivers still have a duty to exercise extreme care when operating a commercial truck. All drivers, but especially commercial drivers, should consider the following to prevent fatigued driving.
- Sleep. Most adults need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. Getting less will lead to fatigued driving.
- Breaks. Frequent breaks are important to ensuring that both the mind and body remain alert.
- Companionship. Some trucking companies operate their trucks by using two drivers. This allows drivers to switch when one becomes fatigued.
Commercial truck drivers will often resort to caffeine or other substances to remain alert. Stimulants tend to give the user a spike of energy followed by a massive crash. Commercial truck drivers cannot rely on stimulants and must get the proper amount of rest.
Hire A Lawyer Who Understands
Because commercial truck accident cases are more complex than traditional automobile accident litigation, it is important to hire a lawyer who understands all facets of truck accident investigation and litigation. Our attorneys know the state and federal trucking regulations and how to use them to win your case.
The trial lawyer, paralegals, private investigators, and trucking industry experts that make up the trial team at Ponton Law are well versed in the complexities of semi-truck accident litigation and have successfully litigated tractor-trailer accident cases throughout Georgia and across the Southeast.