Articles Tagged with Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can initiate rules and, if those rules are passed, can impose requirements on vehicle manufacturers. This includes manufacturers of large trucks. The NHTSA will start the rule making process if it is believed there is a legitimate safety need that could be served. i-haul-299523-m

Trucking Info reports that four different highway safety lobbies have petitioned the NHTSA to begin the rule making process to create a rule requiring forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems on all new trucks and buses that have a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 or more. The hope is that these systems would reduce the risk that truck driver error could cause the trucks to hit obstacles in their path. Continue Reading

Our Atlanta tractor trailer accident lawyers read a recent news story about a logging truck that hit a passenger vehicle; fortunately no one was hurt.

LogsA young woman, 19-year-old Kiersten Close, was on her way for a beach day. She was about to pick up her friend and was turning into the friend’s driveway when her planned fun day was ruined by an accident around 12 p.m. The Toyota Corolla she was driving was hit by a Neidlinger log truck on Highway 17 in Guyton, totalling the car. It happened as she was turning, and the truck driver tried to go around her but accidentally hit the Toyota from an angle. The Toyota Corolla spun out and eventually stopped facing the opposite direction. The log truck flipped over after hitting her car and spilled logs across the highway. Kiersten said, “It happened so fast, and afterward I was sitting there and I just prayed, honestly. I was like, ‘Thank you, Lord.’” The young woman walked away from the crash, and was incredibly lucky not to have been hurt. She said she was a little sore and had hit her head on the side of the car but otherwise she was fine. “I just kind of got started spinning and I hit my head, but (the impact) didn’t feel that bad. Then I realized it was kind of bad when I tried to get out of my car and I couldn’t even open my door. So I was very shocked,” said Kiersten of the moments after the crash. She knows how lucky she was, saying, “They said if I would’ve been two feet farther, I would’ve died. I guess that God was with me, so I’m very, very grateful.” In an unusual occurrence, the truck driver was the one injured, and had to be taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The stretch of road where the accident happened has a bad reputation however. Kiersten said people “fly” down the road, blaming this for the accident. She told reporters, “People just come too fast, and log trucks and stuff can’t stop very well. I think that was part of the problem.” Georgia State Patrol spokesman Joel Mock said that the investigation into the logging truck crash is on-going and that charges could be filed if it is determined it is appropriate.

Earlier this week, our Atlanta car accident lawyers read a story about a head on collision that killed a Georgia man.

On Monday morning around 9 a.m. in Ty Ty, a Ford pick up truck was driving west on Upper Ty Ty Road, when it made an attempt to turn left onto Ray Taylor Road. The white pick up failed to yield to a Chevrolet Blazer driven by 58-year-old Steven Hobbs, a retired teacher from the Tift County School System. Since the pick up failed to yield, the two vehicles collided head on in the eastbound lane of Upper Ty Ty Road. Mr. Hobbs was taken by ambulance from the accident and was on a life flight to the hospital when he died. Jeromy Roberts, from the Georgia State Patrol, said he didn’t believe the driver of the pick up, 76-year-old Johnnie Hall, was on the phone at the time of the accident, and that the driver was tested for drugs and alcohol. Mr. Roberts stated, “the driver of the pickup truck was taken down to the Tift County Hospital, where he provided a voluntary sample of his blood and urine. We’re waiting on the results of that before we file any charges.” Mr. Hall apparently told police he simply didn’t see Mr. Hobbs’ car. Georgia State Patrol is still investigating the crash and charges may be pending for Mr. Hall.

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People who knew Mr. Hobbs described him as a family man, dedicated, and helpful. Friends, co-workers and students remembered him this week. Mr. Hobbs’ friend, Bo Edenfield, said of him, “if you ever needed something, you called Steve Hobbs. He was a jack of all trades….Very, Very well-known throughout the community of Ty Ty and also Tifton because [it was] just his personality. Just the man he was. He was everybody’s friend, for sure.” Mr. Hobbs taught agriculture at Tift County High School and was the head advisor for the Young Farmers program. He retired last year, but continued to volunteer with the Young Farmers program. “He came here and worked for the University of Georgia [and] went into the school systems to give that knowledge to kids to educate them in the field of agriculture,” said Joe West. Another friend, Tiffany Wiggins, said, “it’s a tragic loss for the whole agriculture community, not just in Tift County but also the whole state of Georgia. He was a big influence through everybody.”

Last week, our Atlanta truck accident lawyers saw another tragic story of a critically injured Georgian after a car vs. tractor trailer accident. In most cases it is the person in the personal car that is injured, as the large tractor trailers can be so much more dangerous on the road to smaller vehicles. This proved the case again in the accident that occurred last Wednesday on Georgia Highway 16 near Senoia.

Lynda Adcot, a 67-year-old woman from Senoia, was turning left in her Chevy Cobalt when she crossed the path of a tractor trailer in the westbound passing lane when her car was smashed by the tractor trailer. The truck, referred to by Senioa Police Major Steve Tomlin as “a commercial tractor trailer truck”, was being driven by 50-year-old Jeffrey Williams of Smyrna. The Cobalt was so mangled it took nine rescuers to get Ms. Adcot out. It took them about 15 minutes for the rescuers from the Coweta County Fire Department to get her out of the wrecked car and then she was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center in critical condition. The next day she was still in critical condition.  Police say the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Whether or not Mr. Williams can be held criminally liable from the police investigation, unknown at the moment, in cases like this it is still possible to have a civil case to get compensation for the victim. Not only is it possible the truck driver could be liable, but also possibly the trucking company and/or the insurance company. For example, the trucking company may have policies in place that contribute to negligent driving behavior. Also laws require that trucking companies have a much larger insurance policy than passenger vehicles. And unlike in other types of vehicle accidents, in commercial trucking accidents the insurance company can be sued directly by the injured victim thanks to Georgia’s Direct Action Statute. This can help victims because often juries are more willing to give compensation from an insurance company than from a person or company.There is also the issue of many trucks coming from out of state, and thus a civil claim might be in a federal court, rather than a Georgia state court.

Last month, a truck traveling on Georgia’s I-285 northbound near Washington Road carried a load that was not properly tied down. A ladder flew off the truck and into the road, causing a chain reaction car accident. First, one vehicle hit the ladder in the road, and then other vehicles, including a tractor trailer that ended up jack knifed on the road, hit the first vehicle, according to news reports.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys know that this negligent truck driver could be both criminally and civilly liable for the accident and any damages caused, including the death of a west Georgia woman in the first vehicle and the injuring of two more victims, one of whom was transported to the hospital. The deceased woman, 59-year-old Alma Rowland-Johnson, was tragically just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and leaves behind a loving, grieving family. Col. Mark McDonough, Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner, made the same point to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Anytime that, because of your negligence, you cause the death of somebody, you can be held criminally liable. In this instance, the wrongful death of another is specifically tied to the (accident). That’s what is known as vehicular homicide.” 

After the accident, officials were still looking for the driver of the truck with the ladder. But Col. McDonough noted that he or she will probably be caught because of the ladder, saying, “Most things that have been purchased recently have a bar code that shows who bought it, when it was purchased and where it was purchased.” So, sloppy drivers should be aware the police can catch them even if they drive away from the scene.

On Wednesday,a foggy morning, a horrific car accident involving 27 cars and large trucks ocurred near Jeffersonville in Laurens County on I-16, the main highway linking Atlanta to Savannah and is heavily used for commercial trucking between the cities. This unfortunate event happened in nightmarish sequence  –  first an 18-wheeler was hit by a fuel tanker, which ruptured and caught fire according to news reports.

Joseph White Jr. told reporters he was driving on I-16 and witnessed the initial tractor trailer crash. He described it, “I’m looking back and the tanker exploded. Pieces of the tanker flew toward me on the freeway, barely missing me. A piece of the tanker landed like 10 feet behind me as I was running. It almost fell on my head. … It was like a heat wave going over you. … I’m in the National Guard Army and it felt like being in Iraq with the fire and explosions.” Martha Strickland drove by later and also said, “It looked like a war zone.” car fire

The Georgia State Patrol said that after the initial accident and explosion, separate chain-reaction accidents occurred as vehicles neared the crash site. As many as 10 other related accidents happened. Cars crashed into vehicles in front of them, and even if the drivers managed to avoid hitting something, other cars hit them as they tried to pull off the road. Police speculate that the early morning fog and the smoke from a nearby controlled brush fire contributed to the accidents by clouding drivers’ visibility until it was too late and they had to brake and swerve, eventually hitting other cars. The Georgia Department of Transportation stated that due to bad weather conditions on Wednesday, it sent workers to put up warning signs on the highway, but the workers arrived after the crash occurred.

Georgia trucking accident attorneys know that large trucks are dangerous not only because of negligent driving, but also because of the dangerous products they carry and the power of the vehicle as well. Failure to maintain the vehicle properly could increase risks of events such as fires, which can sometimes cause significant damage- causing or increasing the severity of an accident and also causing environmental damage.

This week, a tractor trailer caught fire on Georgia Highway 400 near exit 15 in the early morning hours. The 46-year-old truck driver, Roger Harper, called 911 at about 4:50am because he saw flames coming from the engine and from underneath the truck. Earlier, Mr. Harper heard a strange noise coming from the engine. He pulled over by exit 14 to check it out but couldn’t find anything wrong with the truck at the time, and so he continued on his way. Sgt. Bryan Zimbardi of the Cumming Police Department said first responders reported that there was extensive damage to the cab of the truck, but not to the trailer, and that Mr. Harper was unhurt. He noted that it must have been a “pretty quick burning event.” Sgt. Zimbardi said the tractor trailer is owned by Mr. Builts, Inc, based out of Burnham, Illinois, and the largest long-haul waste transporter in the country. No one knows yet what caused the fire in Mr. Harper’s truck.

This is another cautionary story of good fortune. Had the circumstance been different, that fire could have caused an accident had Mr. Harper reacted differently or failed to notice the problem in time. Large vehicles on the road can cause substantially more damage than regular passenger cars, and adding an extra element like an engine fire only increases the danger. If it turns out that the trucking company or employer was at fault for failing to adhere to safety and equipment management regulations, then they could be held liable for damages that result.There are about half a million accidents involving large trucks each year on U.S. highways, which result in nearly 5,000 deaths. This is why all safety and equipment regulations must be followed carefuly, to at least lessen the risk or severity of accidents.

In Habersham County this week, two tractor trailer drivers were involved in accidents with other vehicles and were cited. Both tractor trailer accidents involved smaller cars and injuries.

The accidents occurred on Wednesday afternoon and evening. The first happened on Georgia Highway 365 at Cody Road near Mount Airy. According to a spokesman of the Georgia State Patrol, the tractor trailer, driven by 35-year-old Chadwick Lee Wyatt of Waynesville, North Carolina, drove off the road, crossed the median, and started driving into oncoming traffic. In doing so, he hit a northbound Honda on the right side. The tractor trailer overturned and ended up on the shoulder on its side. Both Mr. Wyatt and the driver of the Honda, Linda Adcock, a 52-year-old from Flowery Beach, were taken to Habersham Medical Center. Mr. Wyatt was cited with failure to maintain a lane.

The other Wednesday crash happened in Baldwin on US Highway 441. A tractor trailer didn’t stop in time for a red light at Willingham Avenue, hitting a Toyota pickup truck on the right side.  The tractor trailer was transporting goods for Wal-Mart and was driven by another North Carolinian, 54-year old George Edward Powell Jr. He was cited for failing to obey a traffic control device. The driver of the Toyota, Roy Glenn Jamison, was checked at the scene for injuries but was okay. His passenger, however, Matt McClain, was taken to Habersham Medical Center for treatment.

Undoubtedly, tractor trailer crashes can be some of the most serious and deadly of vehicle accidents.  Recently, there was news of a crash involving not one, but two tractor trailers, resulting in three fatalities.

This deadly December crash happened on Interstate 75, near exit 296 in Cartersville.  According to Gordy White, a spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol, around 1:50 am a northbound tractor trailer was on the left shoulder and hit a guardrail and a concrete pillar in succession. The truck rolled on its side and caught fire. Then, the sign fell in the southbound lane and was hit by another tractor trailer. That driver also lost control of his truck, which also caught fire. The driver of the first truck, 43-year-old George Benjamin White, and his passenger, 36-year-old Jermaine Duriel Smith, both died, as did 58-year-old Hugh Bruce Duling III, the driver of the second truck. The news did not say what caused Mr. White to run off the road and hit the pillar, which started the chain reaction resulting in this fatal accident. Nevertheless,  the combination of these powerful vehicles and human error is frightening.

18wheelsOther times, like a January incident, the cause of the problem is much more evident. Another trucker, James William Geasley, Jr., has been arrested and charged with aggressive driving.  A 26-year-old woman claims her Camry’s check engine light came on, and she tried to switch lanes when a tractor trailer sped up behind her in Bartow County. He began honking his horn and flashing his lights for several minutes, until she moved back into the center lane. Then, he suddenly moved into the center lane in an attempt to cut her off and run her off the road. His response was, “I may have wobbled into her lane.”  But he admitted that he sped up and slowed down several times in order to try to get the Camry to change lanes. This kind of aggressive driving behavior is dangerous at any time, in any vehicle, but it is especially dangerous when a tractor trailer driver acts in this dangerous and reckless fashion against a much smaller and more vulnerable car. Mr. Geasley was very lucky that this did not cause a serious accident, which could have caused severe injuries or death to those in the Camry.