Protect yourself from drowsy truck drivers

A loaded tractor-trailer may weigh upwards of 60,000 pounds and take longer than a football field to stop. In the hands of a drowsy driver, a heavy truck can be a dangerous missile.

Drowsy drivers have slower reactions and may even fall asleep behind the wheel. With our highways becoming ever more congested, the dangers of a devastating collision have never been higher. One of the most dangerous scenarios is for a truck to plow into a line of stopped vehicles.

Truck drivers are taught to drive their rigs into the ditch to avoid a collision with stopped vehicles. However, a fatigued or sleeping driver may not have time to avoid a deadly crash. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe:

  • Give large trucks lots of room.
  • Watch for trucks in your rear view mirror. If traffic comes to a sudden stop, remember trucks can't stop as quickly as you can.
  • Be aware of a truck's blind spots, which exist on all sides of the vehicle. Avoid passing a truck on the right where the blind spot is larger.

While Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules require truck drivers to take periodic rest breaks to prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving, truckers don't always follow those rules. Truck drivers are only paid when their rigs are moving. As a result, drivers may falsify logbooks to show they took rest breaks when they did not.

There is no blood test to detect drowsy drivers, as there is for people who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It takes careful investigation to determine if a truck driver took required rest breaks. Here are examples of ways to catch logbook cheats:

  • Compare logbook entries with miles driven.
  • Compare logbook entries with food, fuel and toll receipts.
  • If the truck is equipped with GPS, compare the logbook with data on the truck's movements.

The law firm of Stone Law Group in Atlanta offers a free initial consultation to discuss steps you can take to protect your rights following a truck wreck. Call 404-436-2766 for a free initial consultation.

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