Our Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have seen the firsthand consequences of collisions between 3,000-pound passenger cars and 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailers. Whether the truck crash is caused by driver fatigue, drugged driving, improper maintenance, an overloaded truck or other unsafe trucking practices, other vehicle occupants face significant risks when commercial carriers and truck drivers fail to comply with trucking regulations, established trucking industry safety practices and traffic laws. Semi-truck crashes are more than "car accidents involving a large vehicle;" rather they are complex motor vehicle claims that require specialized knowledge regarding trucking practices, regulations and related issues. This blog provides information on a wide range of issues involved in big-rig collisions in Georgia as a resource to other law firms, and to help provide general information to trucking accident victims about their rights and remedies.
We know that many people have specific questions about their unique situation so we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. Our personal injury law firm welcomes those who have been injured by a negligent truck driver and/or trucking company to call use 24/7 at (1-800-529-6333). You also can contact us via the web using our 24-hour Live Online Chat or Free Case Evaluation Form.
ACWORTH, GA. – April 27, 2018 (ajc.com) The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it was ordering the shutdown of Daya Trucking of Acworth, Georgia. The decision comes after an investigation found the trucking carrier was violating several regulations.*
The sight of a fire in the immediate aftermath of a Georgia trucking crash is horrific. That is why it is imperative to get away from a vehicle after a collision in a trucking accident. Unfortunately, many people cannot extricate themselves from the burning wreckage. According to the National Fire Protection Agency's latest figure, approximately 287,000 vehicle fires occur annually. These vehicle fires cause the deaths of about 480 people. The National Fire Protection Agency's statistics did not calculate the number of people injured by a motor vehicle fire.
The drivers in Georgia are very familiar with the rumble of large, tractor-trailer trucks on the Interstates that crisscross the state. The roar of the wheels is the sound of commerce moving throughout the state and through Georgia to its neighbors. Georgia drivers also understand well the danger sharing the roads with 18-wheelers could present. Those of us who drive smaller cars must be wary of driving near a semi-truck because one wrong move by the truck driver and could suffer catastrophic injuries or death in a large truck crash.
Over five thousand deaths and over 200,000 serious injuries occur each year as a result of a collision between an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle. While there are certain steps you should take immediately following the accident, there is also a specific process involved in pursuing a claim. A trucking accident is often serious and therefore traumatic for the victims. When an 80,000 pound truck collides with a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle, fatalities or serious injury can result. In some cases the truck may also be loaded with a hazardous cargo which will compound the devastation of the accident.
A semi-truck overturned and crashed on I-110 spilling a load of wooden pallets across the roadway. The Houston truck driver was cited for careless operation, and I-110 was shut down for nearly six hours. Thankfully, the only injuries sustained were minor ones to the driver of the truck as other drivers were able to narrowly miss crashing into the pallets scattered across the Interstate. The accident could have been much more serious, resulting in injuries or even fatalities.
An inattentive driver, paired with faulty brakes, is believed to be the cause of a truck accident in the Nevada desert in which a large commercial truck struck an Amtrak passenger train. Six people died and another sixteen were seriously injured in the accident. The truck, pulling two empty trailers struck the left side of the Amtrak train which was en route from Chicago to California. The collision destroyed the truck as well as several train cars, resulting in a fire which engulfed three train cars. The truck driver, the train conductor and four train passengers were killed while sixteen other train passengers were seriously injured.
Big trucks are big business; the trucking industry employs an astonishing 7.3 million people, carrying nearly 70% of all freight—over $8.3 trillion dollars’ worth of merchandise annually. In 2015, commercial trucks logged approximately 296 billion miles. While commercial trucks make up only 12.2% of all registered vehicles, they pay over $38 billion dollars in state and federal highway user taxes. It goes without saying that the trucking industry is huge, and therefore, when a trucking accident occurs due to a trucker's negligence, it is common for the trucking company to employ extremely aggressive defense tactics in an effort to minimize liability.
Plaintiffs in a tractor-trailer collision lawsuit alleged the trucking company’s negligent hiring practices were directly responsible for the fatal collision. The lawsuit contended that the truck driver was both overly-fatigued and driving recklessly when he crossed the center line, causing a tragic accident. Following a jury award of $7 million dollars in the lawsuit, the parties reached a confidential settlement under the terms of a pre-verdict high-low agreement. The lawsuit against the trucking company alleged the company showed negligence and recklessness in their hiring, training and supervising capacities. There was no background check performed on the truck driver and a trip was assigned the driver that could not possibly be completed without violations of hours of service regulations. The court allowed evidence showing the driver had two prior license revocations, however did not allow the plaintiff’s attorneys to disclose those revocations were for drunk driving convictions.
The Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) program has apparently had the desired result of reducing the number of deadly accidents involving 18-wheelers by almost 40%. Under the TACT program, police officers are looking for aggressive truck driving behaviors and have written 1,000s of traffic tickets for aggressive driving. The officers are looking for such dangerous behaviors as unsafe lane changes, excessive speed, driving erratically, violating traffic signs or signals, improper passing, driving under the influence, and following too closely.
In 2017, there were 1,533 fatalities due to truck accidents in the state of Georgia. Many of these accidents involved a truck overturning, sometimes on a busy roadway. When a truck overturns in traffic, many more innocent victims can become part of the accident. Physics play a large roll in rollover accidents. When a large commercial truck comes upon a curve, centrifugal force results in the truck leaning away from the direction of the curve and a truck rollover results. When a rollover occurs, millions of dollars in productivity are lost and serious traffic tie-ups are likely. Even worse, nearly two-thirds of all truck accident fatalities involve a rollover.
Driving behind a large commercial truck you have likely noticed the metal bar hanging down from the bottom rear of the truck’s trailer. Those metal bars are called under-ride guards and their purpose is to prevent passenger cars from slipping underneath the trailer in the event the trailer is rear-ended by the smaller vehicle. Although there has been a push for over two decades in the U.S. mandating the use of under-ride bars, the truth is the strength of those bars remains woefully inadequate. In a crash test performance of the average under-ride bar installed on a tractor-trailer, the guards were not strong enough to withstand even a 35 mph crash. This study sent an average-sized sedan crashing into the rear of a truck at 35 mph with a crash dummy behind the wheel. Although the under-ride guard fully met current governmental standards, the vehicle slid right under the truck, removing the top of the vehicle—as well as the crash dummy’s head.
While the general perception is that trucking accidents are caused by unsafe driving, there are other factors involved in accidents involving large commercial trucks. When an 18-wheeler is too heavy, the momentum of the truck is changed, making it more difficult to stop and more likely to skid out of control during a minor swerve. Even though there are laws in place which dictate weight and height limits, these laws may be circumvented in the interests of getting a load delivered quickly.
Large trucks arguably make our nation run. Many people argue that without truck drivers hauling freight across the nation, our economy would come to a standstill. The numbers tend to support that theory. Large trucks move 70% of all goods shipped in commerce in the United States, weighing 10.49 billion tons. In 2015, there were 3.46 million large trucks on the road hauling freight, driven by 3.5 million registered CDL, or commercial driver's licensed, truck drivers. Those drivers traveled almost 170 billion miles.
While all motor vehicle accident related injuries can provide a basis for pursuing a personal injury claim, trucking accidents pose unique legal issues and practical challenges. Collisions caused by the fatigued driver of a semi-truck or a commercial carrier that fails to drug test a driver are more complicated than a typical car accident. The most obvious difference between semi-truck crashes and accidents involving passenger cars is that one of the vehicles can outweigh the other vehicle by 25 times or more. This massive weight differential means that occupants of the passenger car are especially likely to suffer devastating injuries.
Many of us have used U-Haul and other rental trucks to move from one home to another, or to transport large items that do not fit in a normal passenger car, SUV, or truck. Depending on the size of the rental truck, it can be difficult to maneuver if you do not have a lot of experience driving large vehicles. However, most of the rental trucks available to customers are designed to function as any other SUV, truck or van would, and does not require a specific skill set or specialized driver’s license.
Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Georgia Reports on Two Chain Reaction Crashes That Involved Tractor Trailers In Georgia
A 36-year old woman tragically died in a chain reaction car crash this Labor Day weekend on I-16, near the middle of the state of Georgia after striking the rear of a tractor-trailer truck. Fortunately, the woman's infant son, who was in the backseat, survived the crash but had some injuries. A car seat properly secured the child. In another fatal accident, a 32-year old woman died when she crashed into a tractor-trailer truck that stopped short on I-85 in Coweta County to avoid colliding with a car that forced the tractor-trailer to stop short. These tragic collisions show how dangerous chain reaction crashes can be.
Almost all new cars come equipped with a black box. The black box, which borrows its nickname from the data recorders found in airplanes, are otherwise known as event data recorders, or EDRs for short. According to automotive industry estimates, 96% of all new vehicles purchased within the last five or six years are sold with EDRs. Having this technology on board assists attorneys like the Atlanta car accident attorneys from Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law prove their case against careless drivers who injured their clients.
An Atlanta area truck driver is facing vehicular homicide charges after allegedly causing a catastrophic and fatal accident on I-16 earlier this month, which has been extensively covered on the news. The accident happened when the truck driver slammed his tractor-trailer into the back of a Chevy Cobalt and a pickup truck. Both vehicles caught fire immediately, and the driver of the pickup truck was burned beyond recognition.
There is a simple rule of thumb to avoid getting stuck in a truck driver's blind spot when driving near or around 18-wheelers. You must be aware that the truck driver cannot see you if you cannot see the truck driver's face in his or her side-view mirrors. If you or someone you love was injured in a large truck crash because the driver failed to clear the blind spot, the truck accident attorneys at Montlick & Associates can advise you on your legal rights as well as what steps can be taken to protect those rights.
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.