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Tractor Trailers — Dangerous Lane Changes Lead to Tragedy

Truck9.jpgEarlier this year, the Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog posted on a tractor-trailer accident involving a young woman who had been recently married. Tragically, she was killed when her car was hit by the tractor-trailer on I-285. At the time of the accident, the driver of the truck was making a lane-change when he struck her car. In my experience as a Gwinnett County serious injury lawyer and as an Atlanta truck accident lawyer, I am acutely aware that accidents such as this one are particularly tragic because they are often avoidable. Nothing is more tragic than the needless loss of life.

In this accident, the truck driver was arrested and charged with Georgia’s second degree vehicular homicide and making an improper lane change. Once the tractor-trailer struck the young woman’s car it went out of control and after hitting the guardrail traveled across the highway only to be struck be another tractor trailer. The car ultimately flipped over. Small cars are no match for large trucks — it is likely that catastrophic injury will result when they collide.

From a legal standpoint, what is instructive about this tragic case is that tractor-trailer drivers are required to comply with Georgia’s commercial vehicle rules and laws with regard to the operation of vehicles such as large trucks. Truck drivers are supposed to be compliant in such things as the safe changing of lanes. But we have all been in situations in which trucks are traveling too closely to our vehicles or are in too big a hurry to get to their destinations to drive carefully and cautiously.
The improper of erratic change of lanes is one area in which truck drivers must comply. In fact, drivers can lose their license for various periods of time when they are convicted of serious traffic violations. For example, a serious traffic violation such as a dangerous lane change will result in suspension for not less than 60 days for two serious traffic violations within a three year period and for not less than 120 days if convicted of a third or subsequent traffic violation that is deemed serious.

In addition to these punishments, Georgia commercial motor vehicle rules provide that a major traffic violation will result in loss of the driver’s license. In fact, drivers can lose their licenses for not less than one year if convicted of homicide by vehicle when they are driving a commercial or a non-commercial vehicle in some instances.

Given the harsh consequences of dangerous driving, one would think that drivers would have an incentive to be more cautious while driving. As noted in my ebook “Back On the Road, What to do After a Serious Semi, Tractor Trailer or Truck Accident in Georgia” which you are welcome to download from my law firm website, the improper maneuver such as an improper lane change is unfortunately among the five major categories of truck accidents and generally involve serious injury to any smaller vehicles involved such as that which occurred in the case earlier this year.

We share the road with large trucks, but accidents involving these vehicles are often very serious and cause death or catastrophic injury. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident or have a loved one who has been hurt in an accident, please contact the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle for a free consultation with me in one of our conveniently located offices throughout the Atlanta area.