It seems like almost every week, the news includes a story of a tragic and deadly accident on Georgia roads and highways involving a tractor-trailer. Two recent collisions on I-16 near Savannah killed a total of ten people and spurred Georgia lawmakers and Gov. Nathan Deal to allocate an additional $10 million annually to pay for extra commercial vehicle enforcement officers, who will patrol “high crash corridors” near I-16 and I-95 as well as highways leading to Atlanta.
Georgia is among the top five states for fatality crashes involving big-rigs, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Last year, more than 16,000 occurred statewide, 157 of them fatal. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that tractor-trailers are involved in one in every 10 highway deaths.
Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Although many commercial truck drivers are hard-working, responsible professionals who adhere to regulations, a single negligent driver can cause a serious or fatal accident. There are many reasons unique to tractor-trailers that can lead to these huge vehicles and their drivers to cause or contribute to such deadly crashes. These include:
- Driver Fatigue. Anyone who has undertaken a road trip knows that driving can lead to exhaustion. Federal hours-of-service rules allow commercial truck drivers to operate their vehicles for up to 11 hours at a time. Although semi-truck operators obviously spend more time behind the wheel than an average motorist, prolonged hours on the road without a break for sleep can lead to accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety favors he installation of electronic logbooks as replacements for handwritten logs that can be easily falsified.
- High Speed/Low Braking. Trucks weigh 20 to 30 times more than a standard vehicle. Due to their massive size, tractor-trailers take much longer to accelerate and decelerate. Commercial vehicle speed limits vary by state, with most states requiring commercial vehicles to travel at least 10 miles per hour slower than passenger vehicles on highways. Interstate pileups are often caused by semi-trucks that could not stop in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
- Driver Distractions. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that commercial truck drivers who text and drive are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a “safety-critical event.” According to the Administration, safety-critical events include crashes, near-crashes, and accidental lane changes. The Administration now prohibits commercial motor vehicle drivers who transport hazardous materials from using handheld devices while driving. Safety experts support instituting a more comprehensive ban for all commercial truck operators across the country.
Alan Welch – Brunswick Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer
A tractor-trailer accident can end lives and devastate families. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer accident, you deserve just compensation for your injuries.
I offer no-obligation, complimentary consultations when it’s convenient for you. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, I encourage you to call my office at (912) 265-9811 talk about your case.