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Atlanta, Georgia Trucking Accident Attorneys - Driver Fatigue

The image of the overtired 18-wheeler truck driver spending so many hours behind the wheel that they start to doze off while driving is a well-worn stereotype. While we know, as Atlanta trucking accident attorneys, that not all commercial truck drivers push themselves to such extreme limits, driver fatigue and drowsiness is certainly a widespread issue within the shipping industry.  In fact, it is such a huge problem that the US National Transportation Safety Board estimates it to be the cause of as much as 40 percent of all auto collisions involving large semi-trucks throughout the US each year.

It is worth noting that there are federal laws in place which are designed to try and prevent sleep deprivation and fatigue among CDL drivers.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations place a mandatory cap on the amount of time a trucker can spend behind the wheel each and every day.  Tractor trailer drivers are not allowed to drive in excess of 11 consecutive hours each day, and are not permitted to drive at all after being on-duty for 14 hours in total.  After reaching these limits, they are supposed to be off-duty for a minimum of ten hours as it is important that they get adequate rest before returning to work again.

Unfortunately, as Atlanta truck accident lawyers, we are aware that truckers and the motor carrier companies they work for routinely break the law and drive well beyond the limits imposed on them in the name of public safety.  In order to combat this known problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all drivers to maintain logs documenting the hours spent on-duty in order to ensure compliance.  Truckers and their employers must include expense receipts and other paperwork in these records in order to accurately track their movements and their activities throughout the day.  Despite this, many individuals within the trucking industry find ways to falsify these records so that they can cover greater distances in shorter time frames.

Truck drivers who break the law in such a way pose a huge danger both to themselves and to other road users.  Aside from the obvious dangers associated with driver fatigue and drowsiness, there are also a number of illnesses which are believed to stem from the inadequate daily sleep of commercial truck drivers, the most prolific of which is sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a medical disorder which results in breathing being interrupted during sleep.  In some cases, a person’s breathing can be interrupted hundreds of times during an average night’s sleep.  The problem which results is that the person’s brain does not get adequate oxygen.  This in turn puts the individual at high risk of suffering other serious conditions such as high blood pressure, ADHD, diabetes, stroke and heart failure; any of which could have fatal consequences when operating an 80,000 pound motor vehicle.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or other large truck, you may have a right to fair compensation for your injuries. It is important that you speak with an experienced Atlanta trucking accident and wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after your crash involving an 18-wheeler or semi-truck. Call Sammons & Carpenter at 404-814-8949 or fill out our online case evaluation form for a free consultation.


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