As part of a broader transportation initiative announced earlier this year by Gov. Nathan Deal, the state of Georgia is considering installing semi-only lanes for truck traffic in certain areas within the state. While relieving congestion is cited as a goal for separating large trucks from cars and motorcycles, the primary reason for investigating the feasibility and implementation of semi-only lanes is for the safety of other drivers. This comes at a time of increased scrutiny of semi-truck operators in Georgia, after a previous year of deadly big truck accidents in the state. It is not only Georgia that suffers from the danger of semi-trucks on the road; across the nation, the number of auto fatalities involving semi-trucks continues to rise.
Sharing the Road with Giants
Semi-trucks on the road present unique challenges that simply are not present with smaller personal use vehicles like cars and motorcycles. The trailer attached to semi-trucks is often stocked with tons of goods, requiring the driver to be more attentive when operating the tractor. The added weight means that a significant increase in distance is required when coming to a complete stop. If the drivers are involved in a collision, the sheer mass of the vehicle means that injuries are more severe and often deadly. Compounding this problem is that due to the large size of the vehicle, blind spots are present directly in front, behind and to the sides of the semi-truck.
Distracted Behind the Wheel
The physical attributes of semi-trucks alone make them a threat to other people on the road but when the human factor is added in, they become unimaginably dangerous. Semi-trucks’ operators are human, operating under tight schedules to deliver goods on time often cross country. The stress from the companies to make deliveries on time crossed with the long distances means that operators are often driving while deprived of sleep.
In fact, fatigue and fatigue-drug interactions are cited as the most common factor in semi-truck accidents that resulted in fatalities, while drug abuse, including alcohol, is the second most common contributing factor in semi-truck accidents. In particular, many operators turn to stimulants such as amphetamines to fight fatigue and stay awake. These operators, fatigued and incapacitated, operating heavy machinery on the road with others represent a major danger to everyone on the road.
Do Not Wait to Protect Yourself
Statistics and facts such as the ones presented above are a driving force in policymaker’s decisions to seek new answers to the problem of dangerous semi-trucks on the road. However, the risk of serious injury from a semi-truck still remains. The proposed special semi-only lanes are only for specific stretches of highways in Georgia for now, and while the state has increased its policing of commercial vehicles like semi-trucks recently, drivers will continue to have to share the road.
Until the danger from semi-trucks is reduced, it is important to remember if you or a family member are ever involved in an accident with a semi-truck to reach out to professionals with experience in trucking accidents. Consult with the Atlanta law firm of Cash, Krugler & Fredericks LLC. Please contact us online, email us at [email protected], or talk to us over the phone at (404) 659-1710. We can guide you through the complicated recovery process and help bring you peace of mind.