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Sleepless Behind the Wheel: The Nation’s Tractor Trailer Drivers Work to Exhaustion

Commercial driving is highly regulated; federal agencies and states regulate what can be transported, whether wide loads need escort vehicles, and how certain hazardous materials may be transported.  There has been a movement underway for several years to raise the maximum number of hours a commercial driver may drive in any seven day period from an already tiring 70 hours to 82 hours per week.  The law also recently changed with respect to the enforcement of restart periods of time, which effectively forced drivers to rest for at least 34 hours before beginning the next seven day period of time.

According to experts who study the effect of sleep deprivation on commercial drivers, exhaustion is a factor in practically every crash. The history of these issues shows a tug of war between owners looking to squeeze every last drop of profit, with the general public and even the driver’s themselves at risk. The following are important facts involving fatigued commercial drivers:

Over 4,000 people a year die from accidents involving tractor trailers and an untold number of more drivers and passengers are at risk from drivers who regularly report nodding off behind the wheel.

745 tractor trailer drivers died as a result of traffic related injuries in 2015 according to Department of Labor Statistics, the last year for which statistics are available as of the time of this writing.

Most shockingly, this is “the most of any occupation.”  That technically makes a tractor trailer driver the most dangerous job in America.

The attempts by Congress are all but certain to increase the number of tractor trailer accidents throughout our country, including Georgia.  After working for ten hours, a driver’s ability to operate a tractor trailer is significantly impacted.  This inevitably results in reduced reaction times.  When the vehicle the driver is in control of is an already massive 18 wheeler, which is in turn hauling several thousands of pounds of material traveling at least 65 miles per hour, if not faster, you have a recipe for disaster.

Our nation’s commerce is tied to the transportation industry, which, consequently, wields a lot of influence in Washington, D.C. Hopefully the industry will look to reduce the risk that these measures bring with them or even simply opt out and mandate rational and safe driving hours for their drivers.

CALL AN ATLANTA TRACTOR TRAILER ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY

If you or someone you know was injured or perhaps even died in a tractor trailer accident, you must speak with an aggressive, experienced Atlanta tractor trailer accident attorneyBoling Rice LLC offers free consultation and review of your case. You can contact us via our online contact form or by calling directly at (770) 744-0890 to setup your free consultation. 

 

1http://trucksafety.org/trucks-are-getting-more-dangerous-and-drivers-are-falling-asleep-at-the-wheel-thank-congress/

2http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.mpca.org/resource/resmgr/2014_Newsletter_Attachments/PMAA_RR_12_22_14.pdf

3https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-18/exhaustion-is-her-co-pilot-6-days-with-michigan-trucker

4https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2016/5/26/senate-section/article/S3280-2

5https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

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