Fatal Hit-and-Run Chain Reaction Crash Reminds of Special Recreational Vehicle Accident Risks
Although Georgia does not impose any special licensing requirements before a driver can operate a recreational vehicle (RV), this does not mean that motorhomes and other types of recreational vehicles are not more dangerous to vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. RVs offer less precise handling and longer breaking distances so that they are more unforgiving when drivers make mistakes. Not only are these vehicle more difficult to operate safely, but they also pose a greater risk of serious injury or wrongful death because of their size and weight.
A recent fatal chain reaction crash that was allegedly initiated by the driver of an RV that fled the scene serves as a tragic reminder of these dangers. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) report, a recreational vehicles with a flat tire slammed into the back of a Toyota Camry when the RV was changing lanes on the I-75. The force of the impact from the heavier RV propelled the Camry across all of the adjacent lanes of traffic causing it to hit three other vehicles including a black Toyota Prius. The Prius collided into the median wall and rolled over causing a passenger who was not wearing a seat belt to be partially ejected and to suffer fatal injuries. The AJC report indicates that Marietta police are looking for the driver of the RV who committed the hit-and-run.
Although RVs are more difficult to maneuver and control, they are often driven by drivers with minimal experience with their unique handling characteristics and stopping limitations. Some drivers are vacationers who have rented a motorhome or camper but have never driven one before. Some owners of RVs take the motorhome out very infrequently. This lack of experience with the limitations and challenges associated with safely navigating Georgia roadways with these vehicles, which offer limited visibility, can be extremely dangerous.
While we do not have information about the driver of the collision being investigated by Marietta police, the driver may well have failed to adequately check the larger than normal blind spots associated with RVs because of their length and height. This is precisely the type of driving error made by those with limited experience driving a motorhome. Although it is difficult to speculate, it also is possible that if the vehicle that had collided with the Camry had been smaller and lighter the entire chain reaction of successive accidents might have been avoided.
Many presume that these types of collisions are extremely rare because campers, motorhomes and other RVs constitute such a small percentage of licensed vehicles on the roadways. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that approximately 70,000 people suffer injury in collisions involving RVs in a typical year while thousands more die in RV crashes.
Driver inexperience may be one of the most common types of negligence that cause these accidents, but there are many others including:
- Poor maintenance practices (e.g. tire blowouts, faulty brakes)
- Excessive weight load
- Too much speed when navigating a curve or turn
- Improperly balanced load
- Alcohol or drug impairment
- Failure to reduce speed or increase following distance
- Distracted driving
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If you or a loved one has been injured or the loved one has been prematurely taken from you in a collision caused by the driver of a motorhome, our Atlanta RV Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been helping injury victims and their families for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.