Medically Unfit Drivers Continue to Make Georgia Roadways Unsafe
An 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailer barreling down the highways of Georgia at sixty mph can be an extremely destructive force. The danger increases dramatically when the truck driver is medically unfit. A U.S safety study reported by InsuranceJournal.com previously found that thousands of drivers with a valid commercial driver's license qualify for full disability payment from the federal government. According to the report, many people have been injured or died in collisions caused by truck drivers who experience heart attacks, seizures and other conditions resulting in a loss of consciousness.
There are a multitude of factors that contribute to the continued presence of truck drivers on the roads with serious medical conditions that affect their ability to drive safely. These factors include to a lack of clear medical standards for determining medical fitness and a lack of safeguards to prevent "doctor shopping." While many truck drivers are identified as being medically unfit to drive, a prior Transportation Department report indicates that drivers violating federal regulations pertaining to medical fitness are sited in every state based on an analysis of 7.3 million commercial driver violations. Georgia was one of a dozen states that accounted for almost half of medical fitness violations.
The report provided an alarming array of disturbing examples:
• Example 1: A driver of tanker trucks was permitted to continue driving with a prosthetic leg for over ten years despite lack of the necessary documents required for amputees to drive big-rigs. The official who approved the commercial license without the appropriate paperwork and screening subsequently lost his medical license after being arrested for illegal distribution of narcotics.
• Example 2: The 61-year-old driver of a 70,000 pound tractor-trailer combination was found responsible for causing a serious trucking accident that resulted in an $18 million settlement with the trucking company because the driver was allegedly in an "altered state of consciousness" caused by a diabetic episode.
• Example 3: Bus drivers are subject to the regulations and oversight associated with the trucking industry, which includes medical fitness certification. A passenger bus departed the roadway killing 22 of 55 passengers. The NTSB investigation revealed that the bus driver had a valid medical certificate and commercial license despite life-threatening heart and kidney conditions. The driver was also treated for medical problems on 20 separate occasions during the prior 21 months. Witnesses reported that the driver was slumped over in his seat right before the bus accident.
• Example 4: a tanker transporting gasoline plunged off an overpass and burst into flame causing four deaths. Investigators concluded that the driver suffered a heart attack and that he was slumped in his seat when he lost control of the tanker truck.
If you or someone close to you was injured in a truck accident, contact our Atlanta truck accident lawyers for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights to compensation, the steps that must be taken to protect those rights, and how we can help. Our lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to 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.