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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Monitoring trucker fatigue with ELDs

It has been known for a long time that people who drive semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles in Georgia may be at a high risk of experiencing fatigue when behind the wheel. Driving any vehicle while you are tired can increase the risk of getting into an accident, and this is certainly true when operating an extremely large and heavy truck. The tragedy that can result from a single truck accident is something that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration focuses on preventing when developing its rules for truckers.

The FMCSA instituted new regulations in the last few years that reduced the number of hours a trucker could drive in one day and in one working week. It also outlined the requirements for when a trucker must take a break and how long the break periods should last.

Drugged driver sets off multi-vehicle crash

People who live in Georgia have no doubt heard about the dangers of drunk driving over the years. Since the inception of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, numerous public awareness campaigns have promoted the importance of making wiser and safer choices if a person is going to consume alcohol. Sadly, plenty of people still refuse to listen to the facts and instead put their own selfish interests above the safety of others. However, it is not only the consumption of alcohol that poses this type of risk to people.

Driving under the influence of drugs can create a situation that is equally dangerous to driving under the influence of alcohol. These drugs may be illegal substances like methamphetamine or heroin, or they may be legal, prescription drugs. Either way, when a person is impaired due to the use of this type of substance, the risk of an accident can increase.

What makes nighttime driving more dangerous?

The setting of the sun and the arrival of evening does not mean motorists cease driving on Georgia roads. However, what people may not know as they head home from work or drive to the store is how much more dangerous driving is at nighttime. The National Safety Council provides some common reasons drivers should be on guard if they take a drive during the evening hours.

One of the major issues with driving at night is decreased visibility. Normal headlights afford drivers about 250 feet of visibility, with 500 feet if high beams are used. The drop in visibility puts drivers at greater risk of an accident since there is less time to react to an occurrence on the road, such as fallen debris or a vehicle swerving into your lane. Reaction time further diminishes if you drive at high speed.

Types of child car seats and restraints

It is a normal thing for parents to enjoy watching their children progress from one developmental stage or milestone to another. However, moms and dads in Georgia are cautioned about pushing too hard to move kids up to the next type of car seat until the children are truly ready to do so. Instead of viewing the move from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat as an exciting developmental advance, parents should remain focused on keeping their kids safe first and foremost.

HealthyChildren.org explains that there are multiple types of car seats and restraints. The first ones that would be used with a newborn come in two forms. One is designed to be rear-facing only while others may be positioned facing the rear or the front, allowing their use for a longer period of time. Some forward-facing seats are only intended for that position.

How can truckers prevent accidents from occurring?

Driving a larger commercial vehicle is no easy feat. There are a ton of things drivers must keep in mind, especially when it comes to the safety of other motorists. Fortunately, it is possible for truckers to greatly lower the risk of an accident, provided they take the right steps. Smart-Trucking.com explains some of these steps and how they prevent a serious issue from occurring. 

Being in a rush can land a person in quite a bit of trouble. This is especially true when operating a large vehicle. Truckers who are rushing to get from place to place are likely to make more mistakes, which in turn can lead to more accidents occurring. Speeding not only increases accident risk, it also results in more severe injuries and property damage should a crash occur. While all drivers are responsible for maintaining the proper speed and following traffic laws, it's crucial that truckers also do the same. 

Are teens more likely to drive distracted?

Distracted driving puts all motorists who share the road in danger. According to The Balance, 1,000 people are injured as a result of distracted driving on a daily basis. Additionally, 58% of the crashes involving teens include some element of distracted driving. This is an important factor to keep in mind; distracted driving is more than just texting behind the wheel. 

In fact, most distracted driving incidents involving teens occur due to passenger distractions, as opposed to mobile device usage. There are many different types of distracted driving, all of which pull the driver's focus away from the road. This includes eating behind the wheel, applying makeup, watching movies or tv, reading, adjusting a GPS, and talking on a hands-free device. While hands-free is touted as a safer alternative, it's still considered a distraction since your mind won't fully be on the task at hand. 

Speeding truck driver kills mother, daughters

People in Marietta likely realize the importance of being able to rely on semi-trucks to deliver cargo and freight across the country. Yet their role in the national economy does not minimize the danger that such vehicles can pose to others on the road around them. Their massive size may all but ensure that any accident they might be involved in produces catastrophic results. The hope is that not only are those driving them trained to the highest of industry safety standards, but also that they take the responsibility of keeping their vehicles under the complete control very seriously. 

Those drivers that do not take this responsibility to heart may end up causing untold harm. This fact was reaffirmed in a fiery crash that recently occurred in Indiana. A semi-truck crashed into a line of cars that was halted due to freeway construction. Ultimately, seven vehicles were involved in the crash. One of the cars caught fire, killing its occupants (a young woman and her two daughters). Seven others sustained injuries that required them to be hospitalized. Investigators say that the driver of the semi-truck was speeding before he hit the other vehicles. He has been arrested and charged with reckless homicide. 

Cell phones are not the only distraction for big rig drivers

As the economy thrives, you may see commercial trucks lining Georgia roads at all hours of the day and night. The trucking industry is responsible for millions of tons of goods crisscrossing the country each year. They transport everything from sneakers and lumber to salsa and home goods. At Sams, Larkin, Huff and Balli, LLP, our team often represents clients catastrophically injured in a crash with a big rig due to distracted driving.

According to Heavy Duty Trucking, it is illegal for interstate truckers to text or use a handheld cell phone while driving. While the use of technology while behind the wheel has significantly increased in recent years, distracted driving is not new. Truck drivers take many steps to ensure they pick up or deliver their load on-time. As a result, eating behind the wheel, setting the radio or A/C and other distractions occur.

McIntosh County crash kills mother and daughter

Most in Marietta likely believe that their own well-developed driving skills will help them to avoid accidents. While that may be true in many cases, one can never fully eliminate the potential of encountering a reckless driver on the road (at which point control over avoiding an accident may be taken completely out of their hands). Reckless drivers may often leave a great deal of devastation in their wake, including serious injuries and even fatalities on top of the damage they cause to others vehicles. Some such cases may require that accident victims seek legal action, either to secure adequate insurance coverage or collect damages from the responsible party. 

Just such an accident was recently witnessed in McIntosh County. A man driving a Honda Accord reportedly struck a Volvo carrying four passengers. Those passengers exited the vehicle and stood on the shoulder of the road as they waited for help to arrive. Yet just minutes later, several other vehicles struck those already disabled by the accident. These multiple collisions ultimately resulted in the deaths of a mother and daughter. 

Technology may encourage more distracted behavior

People in Georgia who are concerned about the prevalence of distracted driving and the safety risks this behavior raises may have even more reason to be concerned in the future. As consumers' reliance on technology seems only poised to grow, not wane, technology companies may well be building devices that all but encourage dangerous actions.

As reported recently by The Verge, there are rumors abounding that some new models of Apple smartphones may start to be produced with multiple wireless audio inputs. To make matters worse, there are people actively recommending that people could use one input for music and another for navigation purposes while driving. This would only add to the number of cognitive inputs that a driver would be trying to focus on at one time, further taking their attention away from the road.

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