Articles Posted in Georgia truck accidents

Published on:

“Sunday storms blamed for I-85 semi collision,” shouted a headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last Monday.

The accompanying article stated that heavy rain

…could be to blame for a tractor-trailer crash near Spaghetti Junction. Driving rain may have caused two tractor-trailers heading north on Interstate 85 to crash and overturn in DeKalb County late Sunday night. Police shut down northbound lanes of I-85 for several hours, backing up traffic for miles. Two people were injured in the crash.

Published on:

Wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases involving commercial trucks are seldom just about a moment’s inattention. Usually we find there are issues of training, supervision and rule violations, though frankly with a local delivery truck in rush hour it is sometimes simpler than that.

Lithonia truck driver Stephen Scott has been charged with second degree vehicular homicide and following too closely in the Friday crash that killed a Lawrenceville couple, Donna and John Kesse, on I-985 in Gwinnett County, according to media reports.

Traffic was slowed in the interstate’s southbound right-hand lane due to merging traffic from Ga. 20 about 3:20 p.m. Friday when a box truck driven by Scott slammed into the Keese vehicle, then careening into a Dodge Ram pickup truck and a Saturn minivan towing a small trailer with an ATV on it.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Two people were killed this afternoon on I-985 southbound under Georgia 20 in Gwinnett County when the vehicle they occupied was rear-ended by a box truck, according to a report in the by Angel Brooks in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Reportedly, traffic was slowed or stopped at the ramp from Ga. 20 to I-985 south when the box truck crashed into a Nissan. See aerial photo.

The names of the two people killed will not be released until notification of the next of kin.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Plans for truck-only lanes on metro Atlanta expressways are among the aspirations cut from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s transportation long-range plans released this week.

The ailing economy and strapped government budgets led the ARC to ax or defer beyond my likely lifetime:

– optional toll lanes alongside I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties
– a component that would carry only tractor trailer trucks
– widening South Cobb Drive from Cobb Parkway to Atlanta Road, and from Atlanta Road to Bolton Road
– widening University Ave. from Metropolitan Parkway to the Downtown Connector
– new interchange at I-675 and and Cedar Grove Road
– mass transit line across northern I-285 from Cumberland to Perimeter Center Continue reading →

Published on:

Monday morning, an unidentified man died when he drove his Honda into the rear of an unoccupied tractor-trailer truck parked on the shoulder of a southbound ramp on to Interstate 85 in DeKalb County., according to a report by Rhonda Cash of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

While strange to the uninitiated, this sort of event is common enough that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations include the following rule:

49 CFR 392.22 Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles.

(a) Hazard warning signal flashers. Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Placement of warning devices–

(b)(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by Sec. 393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:

(b)(1)(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;

(b)(1)(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and
(b)(1)(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.

(b)(2) Special rules–(i) Fusees and liquid-burning flares. The driver of a commercial motor vehicle equipped with only fusees or liquid- burning flares shall place a lighted fusee or liquid-burning flare at each of the locations specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. There shall be at least one lighted fusee or liquid-burning flare at each of the prescribed locations, as long as the commercial motor vehicle is stopped. Before the stopped commercial motor vehicle is moved, the driver shall extinguish and remove each fusee or liquid- burning flare.

(b)(2)(ii) Daylight hours. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, during the period lighted lamps are not required, three bidirectional reflective triangles, or three lighted fusees or liquid- burning flares shall be placed as specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section within a time of 10 minutes. In the event the driver elects to use only fusees or liquid-burning flares in lieu of bidirectional reflective triangles or red flags, the driver must ensure that at least one fusee or liquid-burning flare remains lighted at each of the prescribed locations as long as the commercial motor vehicle is stopped or parked.

(b)(2)(iii) Business or residential districts. The placement of warning devices is not required within the business or residential district of a municipality, except during the time lighted lamps are required and when street or highway lighting is insufficient to make a commercial motor vehicle clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet to persons on the highway.

(b)(2)(iv) Hills, curves, and obstructions. If a commercial motor vehicle is stopped within 500 feet of a curve, crest of a hill, or other obstruction to view, the driver shall place the warning signal required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section in the direction of the obstruction to view a distance of 100 feet to 500 feet from the stopped commercial motor vehicle so as to afford ample warning to other users of the highway.

(b)(2)(v) Divided or one-way roads. If a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a divided or one-way highway, the driver shall place the warning devices required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, one warning device at a distance of 200 feet and one warning device at a distance of 100 feet in a direction toward approaching traffic in the center of the lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle. He/she shall place one warning device at the traffic side of the commercial motor vehicle within 10 feet of the rear of the commercial motor vehicle.

The reason for such a rule is that drivers approaching at the speed limit often do not perceive that a tractor trailer is sitting still until too late to stop, and then impact with an 80,000 vehicle is much like impact with a cement barrier. Moreover, impact with the side or rear of a stopped tractor trailer with typically weak under-ride bars can easily lead to decapitation of occupants of the striking passenger vehicle.

When such incidents get into litigation, the challenge is to prove whether an unmarked tractor trailer or big rig had been sitting on the shoulder more than ten minutes. Often this requires an immediate demand for preservation of electronic data from electronic data recorders and satellite communications systems that many trucking companies employ.

In making such demands, one must anticipate that a trucking company will also demand an opportunity to download data from the electronic control module of the striking vehicle This may require an immediate investment of several thousand dollars in accident reconstruction costs.

One must also anticipate disclosure of cell phone billing records to determine whether the driver was distracted by a cell phone when he collided with the stopped big rig.

If the driver who struck the stopped truck was speeding or distracted, then rules of comparative negligence, contributory negligence and failure to avoid consequences of another’s negligence would reduce or bar tort recovery.

Thus, the starting point for survivors in such a situation may be to immediately check cell phone records and download electronic data from the car, and then make a decision about requesting data from the trucking company.
Continue reading →

Published on:

A gruesome week on the Atlanta freeways ended badly when a tractor trailer on I-75 near Windy Hill Road in Cobb County struck several vehicles, caught fire, and send an adult and a toddler in critical condition to area hospitals
According to a report by Alexis Stevens in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, apparently a tractor-trailer struck several vehicles on I-75 near Windy Hill Road around 10 p.m. and caught fire. A child, believed to be between 1 and 2 years old, was to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in critical condition, while an adult in critical condition was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital trauma center. Apparently several others were injured as well.
Continue reading →

Published on:

A fatal truck crash early Saturday morning on I-285 south of Atlanta highlighted an important safety rule governing interstate commercial trucking.

According to an article by George Mathis and Ty Tagamihe of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the incident began when the tractor-trailer was involved in a minor collision with another large truck and the two trucks had pulled over. The other truck pulled into the median, but the tractor-trailer stopped in the right lane of traffic.

A woman then drove under the tractor-trailer at highway speed and was killed.

A couple of years ago I spoke on trailer underride accidents at a national trucking litigation seminar in New Orleans. This is not the place to elaborate on the injury pattern in such crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, at 49 C.F.R. § 392.22, requires that when a tractor trailer stops on a highway or shoulder, the driver must activate hazard warning signal flashers, and within ten minutes must place either bidirectional reflective triangles or flares.

In a situation like this, there is a question of proof of how long the truck had been stopped. That involves comparison of various electronic records — in the electronic control modules of both trucks, possibly a Qualcomm or similar satellite communications system, cross referenced with 911 records and cell phone records of whoever called in the report of the crash, all of which are likely synchronized with either the national atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado, or the Naval Observatory.

Quick action is necessary to assure preservation of all data.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Last night on I-575 in Cherokee County, an 18 wheeler tractor trailer hauling sod crashed at the bottom of an exit ramp from I-575 to Ga. 140 in Canton. The three-vehicle collision resulted in the death of one person, thus far not identified in the media. The tractor trailer crossed over the intersection and hit another vehicle, according a CBS News report.

According an article by Mike Morris in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, police were investigating whether brakes had failed on the tractor trailer.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern interstate trucking — between different states. Section 393.40 of the FMCSR defines required brake systems. Section 393.43 sets requirements for breakaway and emergency braking. Section 393.47 covers brake actuators, slack adjusters, linings/pads and drums/rotors. Section 393.52 sets standards for brake performance.

If a truck is operated only intrastate (within Georgia), then it is subject to the Georgia Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The bulk of the federal rules on equipment required for safe operation, including these rules regarding brakes, are simply incorporated by reference in the Georgia rules.
Continue reading →

Published on:

As Georgia trucking lawyer who has lived in Sandy Springs for 26 years, I was saddened to hear recently that a woman was killed when she was hit by a 18 wheeler on I-285 near Riverwood High School where my son had his glory days in high school football.

Rosario Velez, 44, was in her minivan stopped in the I-285 emergency lane at Riverside Drive, making a phone call, when she was struck by an tractor trailer that, according to the police report, crossed over into the emergency lane to hit her.

Today, Sandy Springs police arrested Joseph Leon Golden, 43, the truck driver from El Paso, Texas. He has been charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and a lane violation, and is being held at the Fulton County Jail on $5,500 bond.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Monday morning on Highway 49 near Milledgeville, a tractor trailer came over a hill and struck two other cars, then went into the opposite lane where it struck an oncoming vehicle. Rita Rose, 31, of Warthen, Georgia, was killed when the 18 wheeler struck her head on.

Further details were not mentioned in early media reports. Often such incidents are not just simple collisions, but the roots of tragedy are found in a pattern of corporate conduct that forces truck drivers to meet impossible delivery schedules and press on when they are outside their legal hours of operation and impaired by fatigue.
Continue reading →

Contact Information