Distracted truck drivers can cause havoc on Georgia roadways

With a couple of large interstates passing through, Cobb County residents see a lot of semis pulling trailers of goods to and from Atlanta. These heavy and large commercial vehicles deliver products people need and it is the responsibility of commercial truck drivers to stay alert and watch the road around them. When a trucker fails in this duty, a tractor-trailer accident can occur, potentially causing serious injuries to those involved.

This may be the situation in a recent multi-car crash that happened in Gainesville. According to UPI, law enforcement officials stated that four vehicles were tangled up with a tractor-trailer. The semi had overturned in the crash that resulted in five injured people and three fatalities. It is unknown what may have caused the accident.

Truck driver distraction

The Georgia Department of Transportation reported that in 2006, 13,275 crashes involved a tractor-trailer. Over 2,900 injuries resulted and 158 people died. That same year, a study revealed that the leading cause of crashes and near-crashes was distracted driving, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While the leading cause of tractor-trailer crashes is unknown for Georgia's numbers, the subject of distracted driving has attracted national attention.

In 2009, the FMCSA delivered a report on distracted driving with commercial vehicles which revealed a number of findings. These findings include:

  • 71 percent of the crashes studied involved distracted behavior.
  • 60 percent of safety-critical events involved distracted behavior.
  • 46 percent of near crashes involved distracted behavior.
  • Tasks that required a driver to take their eyes off the road created a high risk for an accident.
  • Drivers need more education from fleet managers about the risks associated with distracted driving.

Recognizing that cell phones were a serious problem, the FMCSA banned the use of texting in commercial vehicles being operated for interstate commerce in 2010. However, there are still many kinds of driver distractions such as eating, looking at or reading maps, and drinking or smoking.

Justice for victims

For the victims of a distracted truck driver, the consequences can be life-changing. Due to their sheer size and the impact they deliver, it is not uncommon for victims to suffer severe and often permanent injuries. This can amount to thousands of dollars in lost income and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. However, victims have the option of seeking compensation from the truck driver and trucking company to fully compensate them after an accident.

It is important to understand that trucking companies often have a legal team ready to defend the trucker. For this reason, you should meet with an experienced attorney who can explain to you how the process works and help you prepare a strong case.