In 2014, an inattentive Walmart truck driver crashed his tractor-trailer into the bus of comic superstar Tracy Morgan. Morgan sustained serious brain injury and another passenger–comedian James McNair–was tragically killed. The driver of the truck claimed that his response time on the road was compromised due to the fact that he had been working without sleep for more than 24 hours.
While the story of Morgan’s accident made headlines, such accidents resulting from drowsy driving are all too common. According to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is the culprit in more than 100,000 accidents each year.
Although there is no law in Georgia explicitly prohibiting drowsy driving, there are a plethora of incentives for transportation companies to enact anti-drowsy driving policies. Such policies can benefit public safety as well as an employer’s bottom line.
If your company employs professional drivers, limiting the number of consecutive hours they can drive without rest can have a dramatic impact on the safety of your employees and other drivers on the road. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that as many as one-third of all fatal accidents are the result of fatigued driving–and collisions with large tractor-trailers are especially devastating.
Employers who act responsibly with respect to their employees’ health and safety can also benefit financially. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers spend an average of $60 billion per year in legal and medical expenses resulting from traffic accidents. Employers who prevent their drivers from getting behind the wheel when they’re too fatigued to concentrate can increase productivity as well as reduce workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
When employers prioritize trucker safety by implementing anti-drowsy driving policies, the advantages to the company, the employees and the general public are far-reaching.