Montlick & Associates, Attorneys At Law: Georgia Lawyers For Victims Of Fatigued Truck Drivers in Georgia
Large trucks arguably make our nation run. Many people argue that without truck drivers hauling freight across the nation, our economy would come to a standstill. The numbers tend to support that theory. Large trucks move 70% of all goods shipped in commerce in the United States, weighing 10.49 billion tons. In 2015, there were 3.46 million large trucks on the road hauling freight, driven by 3.5 million registered CDL, or commercial driver’s licensed, truck drivers. Those drivers traveled almost 170 billion miles.
Fatigued Driving Can Be as Dangerous to Commuters Than Drunk Driving
All of those hours on the road, with all of those miles traveled, can lead to tired, fatigued truck drivers, who are incredibly dangerous. Fatigue effects large truck drivers in the same way alcohol effects drivers. Drivers who are tired become inattentive, lackadaisical, demonstrate impaired judgment, and can be careless behind the wheel. Their vision might become obscured and their reaction time is reduced as well. Legally, there is zero tolerance for driving after consuming any alcohol when operating a large truck. In fact, regulations prohibit drivers from consuming any alcohol within four hours before they are scheduled to drive. Similar disdain for fatigued driving is practically non-existent.
Hours of Service Regulations to Deter Fatigued Driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued “Hours of Service” regulations designed to deter fatigued driving. Federal regulators, as well as the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation, have the authority to enforce the FMCSA regulations. The regulations currently in place since 2011 provide limitations on the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can operate and the number of hours the driver must be off of the road. The structure outlined in the regulations purport to facilitate the delivery of goods weighed against the overwhelming need to protect the public.
The FMCSA Hours of Service regulations permit large truck drivers in Georgia to:
- Drive up to 11 hours if the driver has taken 10 consecutive hours off;
- Drivers may not extend driving time beyond the 14th hour since they reported for duty if they have taken 10 consecutive hours off;
- Drivers cannot drive if they have not taken at least 30 minutes off duty or in their sleeper berth. They are not allowed to work at all during that 30-minute time frame;
- A driver cannot drive after spending 60 or 70 hours on duty in six or seven consecutive days of work driving. The driver cannot return to duty until they have been off duty for 34 consecutive hours; and
- Drivers who use a sleeper berth must take at least eight hours off in the sleeper berth and another two hours off. The two hours can be spent between the sleeper berth and being off-duty generally.
The FMCSA’s Hours in Service regulations only spell out the minimum rest time for drivers. Drivers must record their time on-duty, driving, off-duty, and time in the sleeper berth. Law enforcement has the authority to check the driver’s log at any time to ensure compliance.
The Hours in Service regulations are merely numbers. Noticeably absent from the regulatory scheme is a requirement to pull over when tired. Strictly adhering to the Hours in Service regulations does not guarantee a driver will not be too tired to drive. A large truck driver in Georgia is negligent if he or she causes an accident due to fatigue, even if the driver has complied with all Hours in Service regulations.
Put Our Law Firm’s Over 39 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with our experienced 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyers in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.