Driver Fatigue and Trucking Accidents
When a commercial truck driver causes an accident in Georgia, there is a great risk that others will be seriously injured or killed. One of the major contributors to large truck accidents is the problem of truck driver fatigue. To combat this problem, the federal government regulates the commercial trucking industry with hours-of-service rules and a regulation that is specific to fatigue itself.
The regulation is very vague, however, making it difficult for law enforcement officers to know when to issue violations and order a truck driver to go out of service. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration update the regulation to make it more understandable in 2014. In 2015, the CVSA issued new criteria to be followed.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has sponsored a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that analyzes all of the research regarding how fatigue factors into accident risk. It is difficult to obtain an objective measurement of fatigue. Even when drivers are following the hours of service rules, it is hard to regulate how they spend their off hours and whether they get adequate sleep during them.
An 18-wheeler accident carries a high risk of fatalities and life-altering injuries. Because of this risk, there are many regulations in place that are meant to reduce the number of such accidents that occur each year. People who are injured in truck accidents may be permanently disabled and suffer a permanent reduction in their life quality. They may also have ongoing medical and treatment costs while also being left unable to work. Through a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney, injured plaintiffs may be able to recover damages from a driver and the trucking company itself if negligence is found to have been the cause of the accident.