Large trucks can be dangerous to encounter in any type of traffic, but they are especially hazardous on freeways and interstates, where speed, distractions, visibility and weather can play a part in endangering the lives of Georgia residents. Drivers may not realize the extreme danger trucks can pose when they pull over at the side of the road in an emergency or to assist someone else.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to their massive size, the semi-trucks and tractor-trailers seen traveling on the roads in and around Marietta can cause extensive devastation if and when they are involved in accidents. For this reason, truck drivers are well-trained in the control of their vehicles. On top of that, they are versed in safe and defensive driving techniques, essentially assuming the added responsibility of protecting others from the risks their vehicles cause. A failure to fulfill that responsibility might result in tragedy, as well as added criminal and civil culpability being assigned to the responsible truck driver.
The damages that result from an accident with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer in Marietta can be massive. Often, accident victims are left with little choice but to seek compensation from those responsible due to auto insurance payouts not covering all of their expenses. Liability can certainly be placed on truckers who cause accidents, yet what about the companies they work for? Given that truckers are acting as the agents of motor carriers, then one might assume that those companies should share in the liability.