Georgia is home to more than 32,000 trucking companies, including a wide range of small, locally owned businesses. 76.1% of Georgia communities depend on those trucks to move all of the goods they need in and out of their communities.
Unfortunately, that heavy degree of truck traffic on the road may mean substantial risks for drivers who must share the roads with Georgia trucks. Do you know these common truck accident risks and how they can impact your time on the road?
1. Driver Fatigue
According to federal regulations, Georgia truck drivers can spend as many as eleven hours in a shift that may last up to 14 hours. For truck drivers, that can mean a lot of long, lonely hours on the road, often with tight deadlines that they must meet and a great deal of stress that they have to deal with as they manage their routes.
Unfortunately, fatigued drivers lose much of their overall driving capacity and ability to navigate safely on the road. Fatigued drivers many take longer to react to potential challenges, including another car slamming on its breaks in front of them. For truck drivers, who drive much heavier vehicles and need more time to respond to the average maneuver on the road, fatigue can prove catastrophic, especially as that fatigue grows. Fatigue can also lead to poor problem-solving skills. In a worst-case scenario, fatigue can even cause a driver to fall asleep on the road, which means that the truck no longer has anyone controlling it.
2. Blind Spot Accidents
Big trucks also have equally big blind spots: areas in which the driver cannot see other vehicles on the road around it. Trucks have blind spots down both sides, in the back, and in the front, which means that they have large areas where they cannot track the actions of other drivers around them. While truck drivers are aware of their large blind spots and what those can mean, and usually take precautions to keep track of other vehicles around them, a driver that hovers in a truck driver’s blind spot can leave the truck driver unaware of their presence.
3. Shifting Load Accidents
Big trucks frequently carry heavy loads. While tractor trailers usually contain those loads inside them, flatbeds frequently have loads strapped down to a trailer. Whether inside or out of a trailer, loaders must balance those loads carefully. A shifting load inside a trailer can cause the trailer to swing out of control, raising the risk of a jackknife accident. A shifting load on a flatbed, on the other hand, can fall off altogether. Since flatbeds frequently carry very heavy loads, a falling load can mean a significant hazard for everyone else on the road: crushing damage and increased crash risk, for example.
4. Poor Maintenance on the Truck
Trucking companies must adhere to strict regulations regarding maintenance in order to ensure that the big trucks that fill the roads do not pose a substantial hazard for others who have to share the roads with them. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies take care of that maintenance the way they should. Some put off vital maintenance to keep trucks on the road longer, especially during high-volume times when they may face more challenges making their deliveries. Others may even ignore the requests of their drivers, who know the vehicles and have noted particular problems. Unfortunately, poor maintenance on the truck can make it a hazard to everyone on the road around it. Even failure to replace windshield wiper blades can leave the driver blind while navigating on the road. Failure to replace brakes after experiencing problems, or failure to track needed repair of brake systems, can leave the driver unable to stop or slow down, which can pose a significant accident risk.
5. Lack of Driver Training
The truck driver shortage, especially as it pertains to long-haul truckers, comes as little surprise to most people. What many people fail to realize, however, is that the truck driver shortage impacts more than potential delivery times. The lack of certified truck drivers also means that the roads may fill with truck drivers who have received inadequate training. In an effort to streamline deliveries and get their trucks out on the road as soon as possible, many trucking companies are choosing to push drivers who have not received adequate training out on the road.
Poorly-trained truck drivers may have trouble navigating through Georgia’s streets, which may leave them struggling to manage delays or hazards. They have less experience, less knowledge about how to handle potential hazards, and inadequate training to manage those needs. Unfortunately, that can mean that those drivers lack the capacity to avoid accidents when hazards do arise.
6. Ignoring the Rules of the Road
Truck drivers often face tight deadlines and strict requirements from the trucking companies they work for–not to mention the people who are intercepting their deliveries. As a result, many truck drivers may ignore the rules of the road instead of paying close attention to them, especially with it comes to speeding. Truck drivers may also push their speeds in an effort to increase the number of miles they can travel, since some trucking companies pay by the mile instead of based on hours worked. At high rates of speed, however, they may have less control of their vehicles, which can raise the risk of an accident.
7. Drug and Alcohol Use
A study of truck drivers noted a high risk for engaging in drug and alcohol use, especially among American truck drivers. American truck drivers spend a lot of hours out on the road, often away from their families. Many turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope. Not only can that have substantial impact on their overall health, it can decrease focus and decision-making ability, which may raise the risk of an accident.
If you had an accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver on Georgia roads, you may deserve compensation for your injuries. Contact Cambre & Associates, LLC to learn more about your right to compensation.