As most in the Atlanta area are aware, our community lost five members of a Cobb County church in the recent tragic accident in Florida. It is with sorrow and sympathy for the loss of these lives that I share my thoughts on this horrific accident. As a Georgia truck accident lawyer I hope that from this tragedy, investigators might learn how such a terrible accident can be avoided in the future.
The crash that has hit so close to home and made national headlines, occurred on a Florida interstate. As reported in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, eleven people lost their lives in the crash and 18 were injured. Those killed in the tragedy included a local pastor and his wife, and related family members and friends.
One teenage family member in the ill-fated van was hospitalized in Florida. Her family did not survive the horrific accident and her Atlanta area aunt and uncle will be caring for her now. The church members were traveling from Florida in two vans after having attended a conference of Brazilian churches.
The Florida tragedy is under review. The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to determine whether it will be a part of the Florida Highway Patrol's formal investigation.
Authorities had closed the road for a while due to visibility issues related to a large brushfire. The road was reopened not long before the crash, which apparently was the result of poor visibility due to smoke from the fire combined with dense fog.
The Florida interstate accident involved many passenger vehicles as well as large trucks. In a situation in which there is essentially no visibility, the federal regulations require that trucks pull over and stop traveling until the situation clears. Even if you pull over in a situation like this it may not avoid being hit in a case like this due to the number of cars involved that may spill over to the shoulder of the road.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations section 392.14 provides that under hazardous conditions, extreme caution must be taken by commercial motor vehicles. Specifically, this regulation requires that "extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated."
Part of the investigation in this tragedy will undoubtedly involve whether drivers did what they should have done in these circumstances. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a tractor-trailor, it is important to have the support of an experienced truck accident lawyer to traverse the regulatory and legal issues that can be involved. Please contact my law offices for a free consultation on any matter involving motor vehicle accidents or personal injury.