Many large truck accidents in Georgia and across the U.S. involve a drowsy truck driver. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 4,657 large trucks were in fatal crashes in 2017. Sixty of the drivers were found to be asleep or fatigued at the time of the crash. In its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of safety improvements, the National Transportation Safety Board said that reducing fatigue-related crashes is of primary importance.
In the effort to do just that, there are various regulations on the books. Long-haul truckers are limited to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour shift. After eight consecutive hours on the road, truckers must take a 30-minute break. They cannot begin a new shift until 10 consecutive hours have passed.
Duty status is automatically recorded through electronic logging devices, which became mandatory on all commercial trucks in December 2017. This prevents truckers from fudging numbers and driving for longer than what is deemed safe for them. Yet truckers have opposed such regulations for their rigidity.
Now, the Transportation Department is moving to relax regulations, a step supported by trucking industry safety groups. Others argue that current hours-of-service regulations are already generous enough and that relaxing may ultimately lead to deregulation. The Trump administration continues to repeal or delay any rules that would further regulate truck safety.
Whatever side one takes on this matter, preventing truck accidents is essential. These accidents often result in serious injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Those who are harmed in such a crash that was caused by a fatigued or otherwise negligent truck driver might want to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for their losses.