Last month, five Georgia Southern University nursing students lost their lives in a terrible tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 16 near Savannah. The magnitude of the crash was felt deeply throughout Georgia and within the GSU community. The loss of young life and the intended path of these productive young women was national news. CNN reported that the multi-vehicle crash occurred as these nursing students were finishing their first clinical rotations and otherwise would have been a moment of celebration, rather than mourning. These students were killed and others were injured due to the failure of a tractor-trailer to stop for their vehicles which were traveling very slowly on the highway due to a prior accident on that road. The reports indicated that the vehicles were consumed by flames after the truck struck them.
This week another tragic truck crash has occurred only 20 miles away from April’s tragic collision. In the most recent accident, a tractor-trailer is again alleged to have crashed into two other vehicles which then were consumed in flames. Five people lost their lives in this crash. The early reports indicate that the truck driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel of his truck. At the time of this posting, the driver, who has cooperated with authorities, has not been charged for causing this crash.
The sad fact is that across the country, truck driver fatigue is a big issue and the cause of many tragic accidents. The most well-known of these is the crash that critically injured Tracy Morgan and killed his companion a few years ago. The federal government has attempted to regulate the maximum number of hours drivers are on the road in a week and the amount of rest they must have before they return to the road. But, for the trucking industry, time is money and drivers are under pressure to literally deliver the goods. The industry has resisted the regulation of driver rest and sleep. Sleep deprivation among truck drivers is common, despite the attempts to avoid it. And many accidents across the country are caused by drowsy drivers.
The American Trucking Association estimates that driver fatigue causes less than 8 percent of truck crashes. Although it is difficult to precisely determine just how often fatigue is the cause of a deadly crash, it is common knowledge that our roads are more congested and drivers are more distracted than ever before. Rest is key to being capable of responding to unexpected events on the road. The fact is there are devices available that can set off an alarm if a driver becomes sleepy and there are warning and stopping systems that can sound if a truck is getting too close to stopped traffic ahead. This is much like the train track automatic device we have heard so much about this past week after the Philadelphia Amtrak train crash that can slow a speeding train. In addition, trucks can be equipped with electronic logging devices to enforce the driver hour logs and regulations.
Scholle Law is here to help those injured in a tractor trailer or other motor vehicle crash. Please contact our law office for a free consultation and evaluation of your situation. We are committed to serving those harmed and injured in Georgia accidents.