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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

The controversy surrounding electronic logging devices

Residents who live in Georgia should have the right to feel safe when sharing the road or highway with a large commercial vehicle. They deserve to know that truckers are properly trained on how to safely operate their rigs. Part of this safe operation includes knowing when to take a break to avoid becoming fatigued while driving. 

Business Insider explains that trucker fatigue has become something of a controversial topic in the last few years. For starters, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted its Hours of Service rule that restricts the number of hours a driver can work or drive in a single day. It also outlines specific requirements for daily and workweek breaks.

Potential dangers of driver assist technologies

Residents in Georgia have no doubt heard much discussion about self-driving cars in the past few years. The development of these vehicles has been a source of debate as some laud autonomous cars with the ability to reduce or even eliminate traffic accidents and fatalities while others allege that these vehicles are not fully safe. While fully autonomous vehicles are not yet the norm on the roads today, it is increasingly common for new cars to come equipped with a variety of self-driving or driver assist technologies.

These autonomous driving features in human-driven cars are supposed to enhance safety but they may actually have the opposite effect in some cases. As explained by ABC News, many of the features that are designed to provide warnings to drivers may actually make the drivers lazy in a way, allowing them to focus less on driving or the traffic and roads around them.

Parking with hazardous materials

Businesses, communities and individuals in Marietta often utilize certain materials that, regardless of the apparent mundaneness of the tasks they support, would technically qualify as being hazardous. Thus, the need for such materials to accessible means that they must also be transportable. Yet transporting hazardous materials can be a dangerous job, as evidenced by the statistics shared by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that show that over 20,000 incidents related to the transport of these materials happened in 2018 alone (causing over $70 million in damage). Of those nearly 650 were due to accidents that occurred simply during the storage of materials in transit. 

One might think that stored materials (even those being transported) would be safe, yet simple human error can often lead to incidents that can be catastrophic in their scope. Even something as simple as parking in the wrong place (with hazardous materials in tow) can present a risk. For this reason, safety regulations have been created directing where hazardous material drivers can park when not in transit. 

Detailing the dangers of drowsy driving

Many in Marietta may fall into the trap of thinking that the actions that can lead to potentially dangerous driving are very well-defined. By avoiding speeding, as well as not driving after having consumed alcohol or while using a cell phone, they may believe that they will always be safe behind the wheel. There are many other elements, however, that go into driving dangerously, many of which are seemingly mundane actions (or inactions) that go into daily living. One of the more common driving while drowsy. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as many as 72,000 crashes in the U.S. are attributed to drowsy driving annually. When one is drowsy behind the wheel, their physical capabilities can often be limited to the same extent as one who is intoxicated. Their depressed awareness (caused by their drowsiness) can make it difficult to maintain control of their vehicles, and also limit their response time if they need to act in order to avoid a collision. 

Wrong-way driver causes fatal accident involving school bus

When a semi-truck is involved in a collision with another vehicle in Georgia, the aftermath is often violent and deadly. Semi-trucks are incredibly large and as such, they are much heavier than a typical road vehicle. Additionally, they take much longer to slow down and the impact with which they collide with another vehicle can be deadly. 

In a recent truck accident in central Illinois, a community is mourning the loss of an elderly school volunteer who was aboard a school bus that was struck by the semi-truck who was presumably traveling in the wrong direction. The school bus was carrying a girl's high school basketball team when it encountered the truck coming toward it. Unable to avoid the collision, the two vehicles collided and injured several students, as well as the bus driver who sustained multiple broken bones. The truck's driver was also killed in the accident as a result of blunt force trauma. 

Teen killed, 3 others injured in Cherokee County crash

It may be rare to see a case where passengers traveling in a vehicle on Marietta's roads are not familiar with its driver. People may tend to be forgiving of their acquaintances' mistakes, preferring instead to be supportive and willing to help them work through things. However, there may be times when the consequences of a friend's decision are so great that those affected by them have little choice but to seek action. Even in cases where it is shown that a friend may have been negligent, the decision to hold them accountable may not be any easier. 

The family of a Cherokee County teen may soon be facing just such a decision. The young man was killed when the car carrying himself and three friends lost control, left the road and struck a tree. The driver of the vehicle and another passenger were also seriously injured in the accident; the third passenger escaped with only minor injuries. Authorities have yet to conclude their investigation into the crash, yet they feel confident enough in some aspects to say that excessive speed certainly played a factor. 

Are hands-free cellphones a safe alternative?

If you are a Georgia motorist, you know that using a hand-held cellphone while driving is now illegal in the state. Instead, you may have started using hands-free cellular devices in order to stay in compliance with the law. Hands-free devices are thought to be safer to use, as they eliminate visual and manual distractions you may experience. You still, however, run the risk of getting into a serious car accident while using a hands-free cellphone, as studies show these devices are a major source of cognitive distraction.

A study published by AAA measured the amount of cognitive distraction caused by certain activities you may engage in while behind the wheel. While participants drove a simulator vehicle and an actual car wired with monitoring devices, researchers monitored their eye movement, heart rate, response time and brain activity. Drivers were asked to engage in the following tasks while driving:

  •          Listen to the radio
  •          Use a hands-free and hand-held cellphone
  •          Listen to an audio book
  •          Use voice-activated technology to compose an email
  •          Talk to another person in the vehicle

Georgia sees jump in truck accident deaths

According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people killed in all motor vehicle accidents in Georgia last year was down slightly from the previous year. There were 1,540 vehicular fatalities statewide in 2017 compared to 1,556 in 2016. This decrease was also seen in the number of people who died in accidents involving both speed and alcohol. The number of deaths in crashes involving large commercial trucks, however, rose.

Across Georgia, 179 lives were lost in large truck collisions in 2016. Last year, that number jumped to 214. In Cobb County, 2017 marked the second year in a row in which the number of large truck fatalities increased. In 2015, two such deaths were recorded followed by four in 2016 and then eight in 2017. The eight deaths last year represented almost 16 percent of the county's total accident fatalities. Overall, in the five years from 2013 to 2017, Cobb County lost 28 lives in large truck accidents.

Man dies after being hit by semi truck

People in Georgia who ride motorcycles or scooters know that they have less inherent protection around them on the road than do people in cars or other vehicles. That, however, does not mean that they should be disregarded by other drivers. In fact, drivers of any type of vehicle should be particularly careful when they see scooters and motorcycles on the road. Unfortunately, that is not always what happens.

When a person on two-wheeled transport is hit by a passenger car, the chance that they will be seriously injured or die is great. When that same person is hit by an even larger vehicle, like a semi truck, the chance of serious injury or death might only increase. Sadly, one man who was 65 years old and riding his scooter innocently on a Wednesday morning provides a recent example of this.

Stay safe on the road in autumn

When Georgia residents hit the road in the autumn, they may not consider the fact that there are new hazards they need to be aware of. There are a few hazards specific to this season and it is good for people to be aware of them before they start driving.

Some people may think they only need to worry about sun glare in the summer. The American Association of Retired Persons says that people usually still need to think about glare once autumn hits. This is because the sun gets nearer to the horizon during this season. People tend to experience more glare because the changed angle means the sun can reflect off more buildings and cars. Because of this, it is important for people to make sure they have good visibility and keep their sunglasses within reach. Additionally, the road may sometimes be more slippery because of the falling leaves. It is a good idea for people to slow down when they drive down roads covered with leaves, especially if the road is also damp.

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