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Medically Unfit Truck Drivers Pose Serious Risk of Fatal Georgia Tractor-Trailer Accidents

July 09, 2011

A tractor-trailer can pose a serious danger to other drivers on the road under the best of conditions because they move at speeds of 65 miles per hour or more and may weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded.

Their length, weight and poor visibility of these gigantic motor vehicles make it imperative that truck drivers be well-trained and alert. When a trucking company entrusts the operation of one of these massive big-rigs to a driver it knows to be ill or fatigued, the results can be tragic. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing trucking accident victims in the greater Atlanta area and throughout all of Georgia for over 39 years. If you have been injured or have lost a loved in a serious commercial trucking accident you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss.

A serious Oklahoma tractor-trailer accident during the summer of 2009 provides an example of the danger posed when trucking companies do not properly supervise their drivers. During the trucking accident, a 76 year-old truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove over the top of two passenger vehicles when he failed to even apply the brakes. The driver had recently been released from the hospital for cardiac problems and had been on the road slightly over 10 hours when the accident occurred at 3 a.m. The truck driver was still taking medication following a recent hospital stay.

Even with all of these clear signs that he did not belong on the road, his employer put him behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler with predictable results. The truck literally ran over the top of two passenger vehicles as the driver slept behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer. The accident resulted in the death of all eight occupants of the two vehicles. The truck driver claimed that his tractor-trailer had been parked and that the passenger vehicles drove underneath the truck and were crushed. However, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the tractor-trailer accident was caused by driver fatigue. The NTSB specifically noted that the trucking accident occurred during the driver’s first day back following cardiac surgery.

Despite guidelines provided by the NTSB to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), imposing more stringent standards for medical fitness of tractor-trailers, there has been little progress in recent years. There has been little change during the last decade in terms of keeping medically unfit drivers off the road. From 2002 through 2008, there have been over 800 fatal truck accidents involving medically unfit drivers. These alarming statistics not withstanding, all that is required to allow a driver to get back behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer is a certificate from almost any health care professional including a nurse or chiropractor. There are also no standards for conducting the examination or guidelines for what constitutes fitness.

Fatigue is a leading cause of tractor-trailer accidents and when combined with a lack of medical fitness, the risk of fatal Georgia tractor-trailer accidents is extremely high. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Georgia tractor-trailer accident or you have lost a loved one to wrongful death, the experienced Atlanta tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates offer a free no obligation initial consultation. We zealously pursue the best interests of our clients as part of our commitment to being regarded as the best personal injury law firm in Georgia.

Our Georgia tractor-trailer accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, 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 and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.