Truck drivers are a vital component of commerce in Atlanta and other cities across the nation. Accordingly, many trucking companies push their drivers to meet often strict delivery deadlines, which can end in catastrophe should truckers become fatigued. ABC News highlights the dangers of fatigued driving for both commercial truckers as well as other drivers sharing the road.
While federal laws are in place that require truckers rest at least 10 hours between jobs, these rest breaks are not always sufficient to prevent truckers from becoming fatigued. In some cases company dispatchers may even urge drivers to continue on despite professed sleep deprivation, focusing more on meeting delivery schedules than the possibility of an accident occurring due to driver exhaustion. Additionally, undue pressure on drivers may lead them to falsify records which are used to determine just how much time they spend on the road.
Log books are used by trucking companies to ensure that drivers are taking rest breaks as appropriate, but these numbers can be easily manipulated by those seeking to increase payouts. In one instance, an accident involving a speeding trucker and three other vehicles resulted in the deaths of five people. Subsequent investigations showed that the trucker had altered his time log to make it appear he had been resting when in fact he had been on the road for 12 hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention further emphasize the dangers of fatigued driving. In 2013 drowsy drivers were implicated in 72,000 accidents and 800 deaths. However, these numbers may be misleading due to the difficulty of determining cause of accidents in many cases. To this end it’s estimated that up to 6,000 fatalities on the road could be due to tired drivers.