Fulton County leads state in truck accident deaths
Fulton County experienced 11 deaths in large truck accidents in 2013 and 10 such fatalities in 2012. According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42 people in Fulton County died in large truck accidents over the five-year period spanning 2009 through 2013. In 2013 alone, the county experienced 11 of these fatalities. In the previous year, another 10 lives were lost. Statewide, 163 people died in truck crashes in 2013. The 11 deaths in Fulton County that year were more than in any other Georgia County. Cobb County claimed the number two spot for the most number of truck accident deaths with seven. A few other counties lost six people each.
What causes these tragic accidents?
Truck accidents, like any motor vehicle crash, can be caused by a variety of things. However, there are three factors known to be commonly involved in such incidents-speeding, truck driver fatigue and substance use. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been working on each of these issues in different ways.
Truck driver speeds may be monitored by installing special devices into trucks notes Business Insurance. Excessive speeds associated with large, heavy vehicles have caused many a serious accident including the fatal crash involving a well-known comedian in early 2015 according to USA Today.
Truck driver fatigue
That same accident was also impacted by fatigue on the part of the driver per the National Transportation Safety Board. Break requirements for commercial drivers were changed in 2013. However, the new guidelines were put on hold by Congress due to some questions about the research involved. Supply Chain Digest explains that the FMCSA was instructed to conduct additional research. According to JOC.com, the research phase is now complete and the agency is preparing a comprehensive report that will be given to the Department of Transportation for review.
Alcohol, illegal drug and even prescription drug use can lead to serious impairment for commercial drivers. Bulk Transporter reports that the FMCSA will randomly test drivers to check for signs of impairment by any type of substance. Additionally, the Commercial Carrier Journal notes that a database that will focus on substance testing and violations for all commercially licensed drivers is being created. Employers will be required to check the database for potential issues before hiring new drivers. Similarly, all drivers must agree to take and subsequently pass drug and alcohol tests in order to be hired.
What more can be done?
Georgia residents cannot afford to put all responsibility in the hands of the FMCSA or individual truck drivers. Letting an attorney help after an accident occurs is a good way of taking personal responsibility for seeking justice in these situations. Victims and family members alike should be prepared to do just this.