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When Truck Drivers Follow Too Closely: Tailgating Truck Accidents

May 20, 2015

A recent truck accident that claimed the lives of five Georgia Southern University nursing school students has left the community reeling. One of the alarming discoveries made by investigators thus far, according to WSB-TV, is the host of previous violations issued to drivers employed by the trucking company involved in the accident. Several violations were reportedly for following too closely, which may have been a factor in the rear end multiple vehicle truck accident.

Tailgating truck accidents is a common cause serious injury or death across America. The term tailgating refers to a driver following the vehicle ahead of him or her too closely. This behavior is dangerous for all drivers, but it is even more worrisome when it involves a truck hauling 80,000 pounds that holds the potential to crush smaller passenger motor vehicles.  Commercial truck drivers must observe safe driving rules as well as federal and state regulations. If injury or death results from the driver's failure to abide by these rules, the trucker and trucking company can be held responsible.

Liability for Truck Tailgating Accidents

When a truck driver tailgates a vehicle ahead, the driver is acting in a negligent manner. Examples of negligent tailgating activity include:

  • Truck drivers follow too closely to the car ahead in an effort to force the car to move aside so the truck can pass;
  • Trucks drive too closely on hilly roads because they do not want to brake and lose their momentum

When a truck driver hits the vehicle ahead because he or she was not observing a safe following distance, the truck driver will normally be found liable for the accident.  The trucking company may attempt to defend the actions of their driver by stating that you stopped short or without warning. An experienced truck accident attorney can present evidence that contradicts this argument.  Examples may include the truck's black box data, witness statements, skid marks, traffic cameras, and more.

Trucks Require a Long Stopping Distance

One of the major dangers associated with tailgating is the long stopping distance required for commercial trucks to come to a complete stop. This stopping distance increases exponentially with speed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a truck traveling at merely 30 miles per hour will require 100 feet to come to a full stop. Doubling this speed increases the stopping distance by more than two fold. A truck traveling at 60 miles per hour needs over 400 feet to stop. That figure continues to jump with the addition of just a few miles per hour.

Given these long stopping distances, it is all the more important for trucks to leave plenty of space ahead. When drivers fail to leave the necessary distance and injuries result, they should be held legally accountable.

Montlick & Associates, P.C.: A Truck Accident Law Firm With Over 39 Years of Legal Experience

Tailgating truckers pose a serious threat to all road users. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates to discuss your rights to compensation. Our firm has been helping injured people get the compensation they deserve for over thirty years as part of our commitment to our goal of being the best personal injury attorneys in Georgia and the Southeast.  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 and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.



Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.