In the recent past, the Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog has posted on several tragic accidents involving families traveling across our beautiful country. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution carried an Associated Press report this past week on another deadly crash involving a semi-trailer and a passenger van carrying a family. As a Georgia truck accident lawyer, I have represented many families through the medical and legal aspects of major collisions such as this one.
The accident itself included a series of events that are not uncommon, but together ended in seven deaths. According to the report, ten extended family members were traveling on an Indiana Interstate on their way to a funeral. Among the passengers were three children and a newborn infant.
The minivan was traveling on the Interstate and struck a deer. After this occurred, a semi-trailer struck the mini-van from the rear. Due to the collision with the deer, the van slowed down considerably and was possibly stopped in its lane.
It was reported that the truck was traveling at the speed limit and struck the van from behind, hitting it so hard that portions of the van were crumpled under the truck’s tires. The driver was not under the influence and was released from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries. He has not been charged in the crash. But the nature of the accident could lead to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit by the family, depending on the facts involved and the familial relationships of those killed in the crash.
Apparently, three passengers survived the crash and were taken to the hospital. There were 10 total occupants in the minivan and not one of them was wearing a seatbelt. The infant was in a car seat that had not been fastened to the seat. As a result of the crash, the truck and the van ended up in the center median and due to the severity of the crash, traffic was stopped in both directions for many hours.
All drivers should observe the defensive driving rules that require that vehicles allow sufficient space in front of them so that they can stop or slow down in the event of a situation like this. More and more we see drivers failing to leave space. Perhaps if the driver of this truck allowed sufficient room to stop – he would have been able to avoid rear-ending the van.
It takes longer for trucks to stop under any conditions. They need more room and more time to come to a full stop when traveling at high speeds. Even if this driver was traveling at a safe distance, he was not able to stop in time to avoid hitting the van. He might have not seen it in time or expected it to be there. Georgia motor vehicle drivers must obey rules related to safe driving distances and related safety concerns.
If you are traveling on a highway and a truck is tailgating you, move over cautiously and let the truck pass if at all possible. Trucks are required to travel at safe distances which can also depend on weather conditions in which even more space is sometimes required. The law of physics accounts for stopping distance and can be summed up in terms of the mass of a truck and its velocity translating into the kinetic energy that happens when vehicles collide.
At a recent forum of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, experts spoke about the dangers of trucks and passenger vehicle collisions. Although “the fatal crash rate for large trucks has declined significantly during the past decade, even though the number of miles driven has increased by 36 percent. Despite these improvements, there are nearly 400,000 crashes involving large trucks in the US each year resulting in about 5,000 fatalities.” The experts attribute about 70 percent of fatalities are due to other vehicles sharing the road with trucks and the need for more care around large trucks.
If you or a family member have been seriously injured or worse in a Georgia semi truck accident, there is a dedicated local legal professional ready to assist you. In a Gwinnett County tractor-trailer accident lawsuit, you may be entitled to recoup expenses for medical care, hospital stays, lost salary and work hours. At the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., we have decades of experience helping tractor-trailer accident victims get back on their feet and on with their lives. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation at one of our convenient offices in Decatur, Duluth, Buckhead or the Perimeter.