Truck accident dangers in Georgia
In Fulton County, the number of people who died in large truck accidents has been on the increase in recent years, highlighting a serious risk.
Motor vehicle accidents on Georgia roads claim a large number of lives every year. According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,179 people died in 2013, 1,192 in 2012 and another 1,226 died in 2011. Of those deaths, many occurred in accidents involving tractor trailers and other large trucks.
Statewide, truck accident fatalities numbered as follows over a five year period:
- In 2013, 163 people died in large truck collisions.
- In 2012, 153 people died in large truck collisions.
- In 2011, 174 people died in large truck collisions.
- In 2010 and in 2009, 153 people died in large truck collisions each year.
In Fulton County, four truck fatalities were recorded in 2009. That number rose to nine the following year and dropped to eight in 2011. From there, the number of deaths increased to 10 in 2012 and to 11 in 2013.
Driver impairment and fatigue are serious issues
Truck crashes, like other automobile accidents, can be impacted by many things. Drug and alcohol use by commercially licensed drivers is one particular factor that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is cracking down on. Bulk Transporter explains that the FMCSA had been conducting random substance tests of drivers. The period for those tests has been extended due to the high number of failed tests.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, a new drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule should be ready for implementation in early 2016. It involves a database that will house driver test and violation records regarding drugs and alcohol. All employers must review the database before hiring a new driver. If a job candidate refuses to take a substance test, that person will not be able to be hired for a driving position.
Long hours behind the wheel can understandably lead to fatigue. In 2013, the FMCSA revised the rule indicating when drivers must take breaks. However, due to controversy within the industry, Supply Chain Digest reported that the rule was stayed by Congress pending further research. The FMCSA has completed the required research and JOC.com notes that a full report is being compiled now. It may be available to the government before the end of December. The outcome of the research could impact whether or not the Hours of Service rule is reinstated.
Other options for helping victims
When preventing an accident cannot happen, innocent victims must get help. This includes those injured directly as well as family members who may lose loved ones in crashes. Talking to an attorney is recommended at these times.