A fully loaded commercial truck in Georgia can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The immense sense of tractor trailers make them an inherent safety risk. When truckers are not properly rested, the risk posed to the public is even more extreme. Fatigued truckers contribute to a significant number of accidents. Within this blog post, our Georgia trucking accident attorney provides an overview of the risks, discusses the applicable federal regulations, and explains your rights/options if you were involved in a crash caused by a fatigued trucker.
Fatigued Driver is Dangerous Driving: Truckers Must Be Properly Rested
Fatigued driving is dangerous driving. Sleep deprivation results in symptoms that parallel those of alcohol intoxication, including:
- Slower reaction times;
- Impaired judgment;
- Compromised motor skills; and
- The risk of falling asleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, staying awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05.
Federal Regulations Limit Service Hours of Commercial Truckers
There are federal regulations in place that are designed to reduce the risk posed by fatigued truckers. All commercial trucks that operate in interstate commerce—which is most of the large trucks in Georgia—are subject to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. As explained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the following regulations are in place:
- Truck drivers may work up to 14 hours in a day but are only allowed to drive for a maximum of 11 hours during that period;
- After 8 consecutive hours of driving, they must take a break of at least 30 minutes; and
- A trucker cannot exceed 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A 34-hour reset is required before starting another 7/8 day period.
Beyond the federal safety regulations, Georgia law requires truckers to operate in a reasonably safe manner. An overly fatigued driver who cannot drive safely is a negligent trucker.
Injured Truck Accident Victims in Georgia Have the Right to Pursue Compensation
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic damage and severe injuries due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. When an accident occurs due to a fatigued truck driver’s negligence, victims have the right to pursue compensation under Georgia law. You may be entitled to recover financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Vehicle repairs;
- Emergency medical care;
- Hospital bills;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death.
Contact Our Tyrone, GA Truck Accident Attorney for Immediate Help
At the Jewkes Law Firm, LLC, our Georgia truck accident lawyer provides the high quality legal services that you can rely on. If you or your loved one was hurt in a crash caused by a fatigued trucker, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free case review. With a law office in Tyrone and a law office in Griffin, our firm handles commercial trucking accident claims in Fayette County, Spalding County, and throughout the surrounding region in Georgia.