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Truck Accident Raises Issue of Federally Regulated Maximum Driving Hours

Car accidents are usually preventable and often caused by driver negligence. Many of these accidents cause serious damage and truck-1094241-mcan result in life-altering injuries. Accidents involving trucks on Atlanta highways have the potential to cause even more devastation, due to the sheer size of an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck.

According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia, in 2012, there were 153 fatalities from truck accidents on Georgia roadways. In addition to fatalities, drivers involved in these accidents suffer serious injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, and paralysis. If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To seek an optimal recovery, injured victims are encouraged to contact a local injury attorney who has experience handling truck and car accident claims.

A highly publicized and devastating truck accident took place in New Jersey recently, involving a truck driver from Georgia. According to a recent news article, the driver of a Walmart truck crashed into a bus carrying the comedian Tracy Morgan and several others. One person on the bus died, and four other passengers were injured. There has been some question as to whether or not the driver had slept at all during the 24-hour period preceding the accident. The driver of the truck was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. The criminal complaint alleged that the driver of the truck failed to notice that traffic was slowing down in front of him and crashed into the bus carrying Morgan, despite trying to swerve out of the way.

There are many possible levels of liability in this case. The victims may consider bringing actions against the driver of the truck (individually), Walmart, any related insurance company, and possibly other entities. Commercial truck drivers have certain guidelines that they are expected to follow. In order to obtain a license to operate a truck, the driver must acquire specialized skills and undergo extensive training.

Furthermore, state and federal laws impose additional restrictions on commercial carriers, including service hour logs, drug testing, reduced DUI limits, various safety inspections, mandatory rest stops, insurance minimums, hauling and cargo permits, and out-of-service periods. All of these restrictions take into account the seriousness of truck safety on state highways. There is a certain amount of stress and exhaustion that accompanies driving trucks for long distances and many hours.

Unfortunately, such conditions can lead to reckless driving. Truck accidents involving negligent driving can be caused by many factors, such as speeding, driving under the influence, unsafe loading, driver fatigue, failure to yield, cell phone or radio use, other forms of distracted driving, maintenance failures, weight restrictions, and the failure to obey any number of traffic safety laws. A huge question in the Tracy Morgan truck accident case is whether the driver complied with federal regulations mandating that drivers work no more than 14 hours for any one shift, and only 11 of those hours driving. The case is under continuing investigation.

If you have been injured in a truck accident due to another’s negligence, the first thing you should do after seeking medical treatment and contacting law enforcement is to contact an experienced Atlanta injury attorney as soon as possible. Stephen M. Ozcomert has over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, representing individuals who have been injured as a result of negligent driving in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Call us today at (404)-370-1000 to schedule your free initial consultation, or you can reach us through our website.

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