Truck driver health problems or medical emergencies are more common in semi-truck accidents than most people realize.
When a driver’s health is failing, or he or she has a medical emergency while operating a semi-truck, it can cause devastating (if not fatal) accidents. Large trucks are much heavier than passenger vehicles. Therefore, they lead to catastrophic damage. While a semi-truck accident can happen for a variety of reasons, such as road conditions and vehicle maintenance issues, driver performance is one of them.
A driver’s health can play a vital role in safety, and it is often overlooked by employers, drivers, and victims alike. However, research shows that a driver’s health could play a significant role in accidents and threaten those on the road.
Data from truck accidents involving driver-related health issues are not rare. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) performed their Large Truck Crash Causation Study and found 963 truck accidents to examine and look for the reasons of those crashes.
In their study, they found that driver actions or poor decisions caused 87 percent of the crashes. However, 12 percent were due to non-performance. That means that the driver did not react – due to a medical emergency, being physically incapacitated, or falling asleep on the road. Based on the study, the FMCSA then estimated that nationally 6,000 accidents are occurring because of these issues.
What Does that Mean for Georgia Residents?
If you are on the road with a semi-truck in Georgia, you could probably be sharing that highway with a driver who has a dangerous, and even threatening, health issue. These medical problems may be an unknown factor in more accidents, too, because it is unlikely that a driver’s health will be considered after an accident.
Some of the common medical issues that lead to an accident include:
- A medical condition that affects the driver’s ability to safely operate the truck.
- A medication that makes the driver overly drowsy or unable to concentrate on the road.
- A side effect of treatment or medication.
The FMCSA has tightened medical requirements for semi-truck drivers. These requirements include:
- Having blood pressure checked before receiving a card.
- Having vision and hearing tested frequently.
Drivers who have medical conditions that could lead to emergencies on the road, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may now be denied a card.
However, the big issue is that drivers already with cards are no longer tested and they do not have to account for health conditions. That means there is a high-risk factor for drivers with life-threatening conditions on the road when they should not be.
You May Have Legal Options Available to You
While the law has not caught up with these issues, you still have legal resources available if you are injured in an accident with a semi-truck and the driver had a medical condition. If that driver or their employer is aware of the situation, and they do not take steps to protect the public, they are liable for any injuries that are caused as a result. You need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Contact The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. today to explore your options with a truck accident injury lawyer after an accident with a semi-truck at 912-200-5292 or request more information online.