Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
Thousands of people are injured or killed in auto accidents across the State of Georgia every day. Even minor accidents can lead to serious injury or death when a large truck is involved. Alternately referred to as big rigs, semis, 18-wheelers, or tractor-trailers, these large trucks are massive vehicles weighing tens of thousands of pounds, often carrying heavy or hazardous materials that can make any accident that much worse. We rely on these trucks to deliver goods cross-country, but we hold truckers to specific safety standards because of the risks they pose.
Atlanta truck accident attorney Stacey Carroll has years of experience holding truckers and trucking companies to task for accidents they cause as a result of underenforcement or nonexistence of appropriate safety policies or equipment, reckless, overworked, or impaired drivers, or any other negligent behavior that causes injury or death to Georgia drivers.
Georgia truck accident statistics
Nationwide, truck accidents are common, even though they represent a small percentage of all auto accidents. In 2016, there were 110,000 large trucks involved in injury crashes across the U.S., injuring 145,000 people.
In Georgia, 179 people were killed in large truck accidents, slightly down from 182 fatalities in 2015 but significantly higher than the 155 deaths in 2014. Based on data from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, like auto accidents, the number of fatal accidents has increased in recent years, starting in 2015.
What causes truck accidents?
Truck accidents share many of the common causes of other auto accidents, but some elements are unique to the trucking industry. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you uncover the cause of a truck accident and make sure that the appropriate parties are held responsible, rather than leaving you and your family handling the costs and consequences of a severe injury on your own. The most common causes of large truck accidents are the following:
- Driver fatigue. Truck drivers work long shifts, often driving for hours-on-end over multiple days. The road can be slow and boring, and drivers may opt to push through and complete their routes rather than take appropriate rest brakes. Their employers may ignore safety regulations and encourage or threaten drivers into working longer than appropriate or taking too few or too short rest breaks. Trucking regulations mandate that drivers do not exceed a certain number of hours per day or a certain number of days per week on the road and that they take appropriate rest breaks. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are a serious hazard to other drivers.
- Impaired driving. Like other drivers, truck drivers are known to get on the road after having consumed alcohol or other substances. With long shifts comes boredom, and with boredom comes the temptation to take a substance that might affect the driver’s abilities. For similar reasons to those described above, truck drivers are also prone to taking substances to keep themselves from succumbing to the effects of fatigue. Taking uppers or other drugs to stay awake can slow down drivers’ reaction times, take their attention off the road, or otherwise impair their ability to drive safely.
- Poor training and truck maintenance. Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that their drivers are well-trained and properly licensed. Truckers are driving massive vehicles long distances, creating serious risks at the best of times. Freight companies are also responsible for making sure that their fleet is up to date with the latest in safety equipment, and that the trucks are generally well-maintained in light of the punishing effects of long-haul driving. If those companies cut corners to save costs by avoiding regular maintenance, skipping training sessions, or failing to vet their drivers properly, then those companies are responsible for any accidents that result.
- Speeding and other aggressive driving maneuvers. Truckers can become some of the most impatient drivers given their long hours. When they try to speed or overtake other drivers or other trucks on the road to get ahead, they can create serious hazards for everyone on the road. Drivers may overlook poor weather conditions, damaged roadways, or congested traffic and make aggressive moves regardless of the risk. These factors limit the truck’s braking and maneuvering capabilities, increasing the risk of a severe accident.
- Distracted driving. Every driver is susceptible to boredom on the road, and truckers most of all. They may enter long stretches without clear radio stations. After long hours on the road, truck drivers may want to take calls, read texts, get on social media sites, read, or perform other tasks such as eating, shaving, or changing. Any task that takes a driver’s attention off the road is drastically increasing the risk that that driver will notice something too late and cause an accident. Even taking your eyes off the road for just a fraction of a second can be the difference between life and death when operating a massive tractor-trailer.
Get Dedicated Legal Help After an Atlanta Trucking Accident
Careless truck drivers and negligent, cost-cutting trucking companies must be held to task if their actions cause injury or death to you or your loved ones. At the Carroll Law Firm, we are here to help. Call us at 404-816-4555 for a free consultation with a zealous and dedicated Atlanta truck accident attorney.