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MARTA bus rollover on ramp hints poor hiring and training practices

This morning a MARTA bus rolled over on the ramp from I-285 to I-20 eastbound. It is a tight curving ramp with signs warning everyone to slow down and pictogram signs warning large vehicles the risk of rollover. Frankly, a truck or bus simply won’t roll over if the driver is adequately screened and trained.

Recently we handled a case in which a cement mixer truck rolled over in an intersection. The driver said he was going 25 MPH when he made the turn. Then I showed him an industry standard training video that instructs drivers that a cement mixer truck will roll over at 16 MPH in a level 90 degree turn. He then said that if he had been trained on that, the accident would not have happened.

Right now I’m handling a case in which a MARTA “short bus” for the handicapped slammed into the rear of a car stopped at a red light. A Ph.D. psychologist who was an eyewitness immediately called MARTA with an account of the MARTA driver acting like she was drunk. It turns out that the MARTA driver had a long criminal history including felony drug offenses, had not long before applying to MARTA completed a lengthy residential drug rehab program as a condition of criminal sentencing, was off her long-term psychiatric medications, and had an open bench warrant in Michigan for probation violation. MARTA did not both to check with any prior employers, did not follow its own rules to get a 7-year driving history, and did not check criminal history in the state from which she had just moved. The MARTA trainer noted, just about a month before this crash, that she was not ready and needed retraining.

After the psychologist eyewitness described her impaired manner, MARTA chose not to have a post-accident drug test.

So when I saw the story this morning about a MARTA bus rolling over on a freeway ramp, it all fit in context.

Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.

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