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Driver Fatigue and Truck Accidents

Georgia laws require truck drivers and trucking companies to compensate accident victims after causing a truck accident. If you or a loved one was involved in a crash, contact the Atlanta, Georgia truck accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. for help obtaining the money you deserve.

Truck Drivers and Drowsy Driving
According to the CDC, around 4.2 percent of all drivers responding to a recent survey admitted they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least one time in the month prior to taking the phone survey.  Sleeping drivers can cause serious accidents, leading to devastating injuries or even car accident fatalities.

While any sleeping driver could be a menace on the roads, it would be especially dangerous for a commercial driver of a large truck to be falling asleep behind the wheel. To try to prevent this from occurring, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted rules to limit the number of hours that a commercial driver can drive without a break.

According to FMCSA regulation 395, drivers are allowed to work up to 70 hours per week on average provided that they drive seven days per week. Once a driver takes off 34 consecutive hours, then the 70-hours can restart. Drivers who do not drive all seven days may drive only 60 hours over a seven day period but the 34-hour rule applies in these situations as well.

FMCSA rules also mandate that a driver must take a break of at least ½ an hour for every eight hours of drive time and may not drive for more than 11 hours over the course of a day. If a driver works for the maximum period, then the driver must take at least two nights off and sleep or rest between the hours of 1:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M.

These rules are intended to prevent drowsy driving accidents. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers comply with maximum drive time rules and not all trucking companies make drivers comply.

The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
When a truck driver operates his vehicle for too long without a break, the driver's cognitive function can be affected. His response times can begin to slow and his concentration can wane. A driver who drives for an extended period of time can thus become just as impaired and just as dangerous as a drunk driver.

Of course, if a driver actually falls asleep behind the wheel, the risk becomes much worse. A sleeping driver could cause a head-on collision or a high-speed accident even if he's just closed his eyes for a moment. This could have devastating consequences as other drivers on the road could be seriously injured or even killed.

An Atlanta, Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident with a fatigued or sleeping driver, you may be able to take legal action. You can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and/or wrongful death provided you can prove that the driver violated FMCSA drive-time rules or was negligent in operating his vehicle while fatigued.

An Atlanta, Georgia truck accident lawyer at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C., can assist you in proving your case by gathering evidence including log books showing the driver's on-duty time. We can also help you to explore other options such as making a claim against the trucking company to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

To learn more and get your claim started, give our Atlanta, Georgia truck accident attorneys a call today at  (404) 991-5950 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.

Copyright © 2013 by Sammons & Carpenter, P.C.