Recently, a major accident closed I-85 for about eight hours. The accident happened in the very early morning hours in Jackson County. In an accident scenario with which I am familiar as an Georgia motor vehicle injury lawyer, the RV involved jumped lanes and ended up over an embankment.
The RV’s passengers included a popular band, Party on the Moon. One of the band members who was a passenger in the wreck, reported that the RV’s driver slumped over the steering wheel and the vehicle hit the cable barrier on the road shoulder, then crossed traffic lanes and fell down an embankment ending up on its side.
Nearly all of the 14 passengers were injured and ten were taken to a Gainesville hospital, with two transported to an Athens hospital. Two of the passengers remained hospitalized after several hours.
It was reported that one of the band members made an attempt to steer the RV after the driver was unable to drive, but could not stop the vehicle from going out of control after it hit the cable on the side of the road.
Road barriers can be helpful in saving lives, but they are also known to be dangerous in certain circumstances.
Last year, a young student was hailed as a hero for avoiding a possible bus crash by stopping the ignition of his school bus when the driver slumped over the steering wheel. In that situation, the bus was not traveling at a high rate of speed, but the student’s quick thinking to turn the wheel to the right and take the key out of the ignition, was stunningly fast thinking. Not only that, but he and another student gave the driver chest compressions.
No other vehicles were involved in this tragedy, but they could have been. This type of accident underscores the importance of paying close attention at all times when driving. Distracted driving is not only often a violation of Georgia law under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-241 which prohibits texting while driving, it makes it more likely that in an emergency the distracted driver will not be ready to best respond. When you are on the road and a car comes at you from the opposite lane for example, evasive action might be necessary. If you are driving distracted, this quick response might not be possible.
Current restrictions on distracted driving include: Text messaging is prohibited for all drivers, those under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones, regardless of whether they are using a hands-free device, and school bus operators may not use cell phones while driving when passengers are on board.
In addition, when you see a vehicle that seems to be losing control on the road, it could be an impaired driver or vehicle. It could be someone under the influence, but it might also be someone having a medical emergency.
Recently, a friend told me a story about passing a vehicle with a driver slumped over the steering wheel and blocking traffic. Other drivers were honking and driving around him. My friend called 911 and was told that the situation had been reported and that help was on the way. It is never a good idea to assume that we know why a vehicle is not being driven properly. Be a good samaritan and contact 911 when you see something unusual. It might just save lives.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, please contact me for a free evaluation regarding your legal rights. The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., represents victims of accident and injury of all kinds and has the highest ratings possible from our peers in the legal profession.