Fatigued drivers can cause devastating accidents, especially when they are driving large commercial trucks. When a truck driver is fatigued, they are more likely to veer off the roadway, cross the center line, rear-end vehicles, and overcorrect errors, causing fishtail, jackknife, and rollover accidents.
If you were injured in a collision involving a fatigued truck driver, the trucking company might be liable for your damages. A diligent Savannah truck driver fatigue accident lawyer could investigate whether the driver operated while drowsy and negligently put you at risk. If they were negligent, a proactive truck accident attorney could bring a claim for the compensation to which you are entitled.
Hours of Service Laws for Savannah Truck Drivers
Georgia’s hours of service laws for truck drivers allow for a maximum of 11 hours of drive-time for drivers transporting goods and 10 hours of drive-time for drivers carrying passengers. The law also mandates a required 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time for truck drivers hauling goods and property. In addition to the daily drive-time limits, the law in Georgia also limits the weekly on-duty time, allowing no more than 60 or 70 hours on-duty within 7 or 8 consecutive days. The new work week may only restart after a minimum of 34 straight hours off-duty.
The required 10 hours of off-duty time may include time spent in the truck’s so-called “sleeper berth,” so long as the driver spends at least 8 of the 10 consecutive hours resting in the sleeper berth and not carrying out any duties. A Savannah truck driver fatigue accident lawyer could further explain the regulations for drivers.
Factors Courts Look at when Considering Trucking Company Liability
In addition to whether a trucking company is skirting hours of service regulations, courts consider a variety of other factors when determining liability for a truck crash. Whether a trucking company’s liability seems clear-cut or not, a resourceful truck driver fatigue accident lawyer in Savannah could make the case for the court that a negligent driver and their parent commercial trucking company should be accountable for the victim’s damages.
Hiring and Employment Policies
Whether a trucking company practiced good hiring and employment policies, conducted background and reference checks, reviewed driving records and conducted periodic drug and alcohol screenings for employees and potential drivers could indicate liability. Truck drivers who drive fatigued often have a history of doing so and may rely on controlled substances to attempt to stay awake, which is a pattern a company should be aware of.
If a company has incentive policies that reward drivers for arriving at their destinations earlier than anticipated, they could be considered negligent. This is because these practices encourage fatigued driving, as well as speeding.
If a company required or allowed drivers to work extra hours by doing non-driving tasks, such as loading and unloading vehicles, or doing vehicle maintenance and inspection they can be liable. This is because an increased number of hours worked can contribute to fatigue, even if a driver is not behind the wheel. Georgia prohibits truckers from driving once they hit 14 hours on-duty, even when some of the time is spent not driving. For more information about these truck driver laws, contact a dedicated lawyer.
Reach Out to a Savannah Truck Driver Fatigue Crash Attorney
Establishing that a truck driver was fatigued can be challenging. However, a skilled Savannah truck driver fatigue accident lawyer could analyze trucking company employment records, policies, and driving logs to determine whether a parent trucking company played a role in causing the accident.
Do not hesitate to consult with an experienced fatigued truck driver attorney in Savannah if you or your loved one sustained injuries stemming from a truck accident involving a potentially drowsy driver. Call today to discuss your options.