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Q
I’ve heard the new hours-of-service regulations will cause experienced truck drivers to retire, leaving our roads full of inexperienced truckers. If this is true, what can we drivers do to protect ourselves from novice truck drivers?

A

This, in fact, may be true. Many truck drivers are not happy with the new hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that will go into effect on July 1, 2013. Because of the increase in required rest times and strict regulations, truckers are concerned they won’t make as much money, which may force many into early retirement. If this happens, trucking companies will be looking to hire drivers.

Since there seems to be a shortage of truck drivers right now, inexperienced truckers may be hired and put behind the wheel of tractor trailers. Although they are supposed to be properly licensed and trained to operate large commercial vehicles safely, their inexperience may cause them to make critical mistakes like falling asleep at the wheel or turning left in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Unfortunately, you may never know if the large semi truck you are traveling next to on the road has a responsible, experienced truck driver or a novice trucker at the wheel. For this reason, it is in your best interests to follow these safety tips:

  • Try to avoid driving directly next to or behind a semi.
  • Stay at least three car lengths behind a truck. Never drive directly behind a tractor trailer—make sure you can see the truck driver in the driver’s side mirror.
  • Don’t cut a truck driver off. It takes a large truck more time to stop.
  • Don’t drive in the truck’s no-zones, also known as blind spots.
  • If the truck driver is speeding, driving too aggressively, veering over the lines, or driving dangerously, call the phone number on the back of the truck and 911 to report the dangerous driving.

By doing these things, you can help reduce the possibility of a trucking accident in Georgia; however, even the safest drivers can get injured by an inexperienced truck driver. If you were a victim of a truck crash, call the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 for a free, no obligation consultation with a Peachtree City accident attorney today.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia