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Marietta Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

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.

When truckers are pressured to perform

It may be easy for you and others in Marietta to view driving a semi-truck or tractor-trailer as a lifestyle other than hat it truly is: a profession. This may be the reason why so many of those that come to see us here at Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli, LLP following a truck accident are so quick to assign all of the blame to the driver. Truckers face many of the same professional pressures that you do, including the pressure to perform. If such pressure is being applied by a motor carrier, you might be right in asking whether or not it too might be liable if and when an accident occurs. 

Like you, truck drivers may push themselves (and their vehicles) to and sometimes even beyond their limits in order to please their employers. While you (and them) may simply be trying to be the best employee you can be, oftentimes such exertion can be due to employers requiring it. Indeed, when researching the various factors that cause truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that drivers often cited work pressure from their employers as a reason why they operated their vehicles in a manner that led to accidents. 

Recognizing dangerous teen driver tendencies

When one is involved in a car accident caused by a teenage driver in Marietta, he or she may want to give the youthful motorist a pass due to said teen's inexperience behind the wheel. However, the expenses that can often accompany such an accident may make it necessary for him or her to seek compensation. While a teen would likely not have the resources needed to help cover one's accident costs, his or her parents might. Yet in order to hold a parent responsible for the actions of a teen driver, one must typically apply the legal principle of negligent entrustment to his or her case. 

Negligent entrustment allows liability for an accident to be placed on a third party in certain situations. In a recent ruling issued by the Court of Appeals for the state of Georgia, two elements were recognized as having to be present in order for this doctrine to apply. First, it must be proven that the owner of a vehicle entrusted it to a driver knowing that the driver was inexperienced and/or incompetent. Next, it needs to be shown that the incompetent driver's negligence was the proximate cause of an accident. 

Improper braking can cause tragic truck accidents

A jackknife truck accident is one of the scariest crashes that can occur on Georgia highways because of its potential to involve multiple other vehicles and their occupants. The length of a tractor-trailer and the truck pulling it can cross several lanes of traffic as it slides out of control, blocking other lanes and causing vehicle after vehicle to crash into it and each other. The results are often catastrophic, as many can remember was the case two years ago, when four tractor-trailers and a pickup truck were involved in an accident that killed both occupants of the pickup.

HowStuffWorks explains that jackknifing essentially is a loss of traction, which can happen easily on slick roads. If the tires begin skidding and the driver panics and slams on the brakes, they can lock and leave wheels without the traction needed to stop. If the wheels lock on either the tractor or trailer, the traction loss allows the rig to swing sideways, coming up alongside the tractor in an L-shape, or jackknife.

Is whiplash a real injury?

If you are like many people in Georgia, you may well have been in a group where someone has made a joke about whiplash. This is one of those injuries that somehow many people fail to take seriously yet it can be a real problem and definitely requires medical attention. It is one reason why close observation of someone after even a seemingly minor fender bender accident may be important.

As explained by WebMD, a person who has been in an accident in which their head is suddently jolted in a to and fro motion may not exhibit any symptoms of whiplash immediately after the crash. Onsent of symptoms may be delayed even though the injury has already taken place. Being hit from behind in a vehicle is a classic situation that may result in a whiplash injury.

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