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Two cement mixer truck rollovers highlight special handling characteristics

Two cement mixer trucks rolled over yesterday morning in Mississippi. This highlights something I have learned as a Georgia trucking accident attorney.

In loaded cement mixer trucks the center of gravity is high and constantly shifting. Road tests described in standard truck driver training materials in the ready-mix concrete industry graphically describe the handling characteristics. It is well known in the industry, and covered in training videos and Power Point presentations, that a loaded cement mixer truck will tip up on two wheels when making a ninety degree turn on level pavement at 12 miles per hour, and will roll over at 16 miles per hour.

Recently I handled a case in which cement mixer truck in Georgia rolled over when making a turn in a level intersection, landing on a family vehicle. The cement truck driver had just obtained his CDL a couple of month earlier, and his training on cement mixer truck driving consisted of showing him how to work the mixer controls. At his deposition, I showed the driver the standard industry training video. He swore that he had never been trained on any of that, and if he had been trained the accident and injury would not have occurred.

The cement company admitted responsibility for its driver and filed a motion to exclude to independent negligence claims against the corporation for its negligent hiring, training, entrustment and supervision. However, when we responded to their motion with a brief showing that under the Georgia tort reform legislation that requires apportionment of damages between the employer and driver, they soon agreed to a fair settlement in mediation.

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, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.

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