A terrible tractor-trailer crash took the lives of an Atlanta woman and two children in Indiana earlier this week. Sadly, a total of seven people died in this crash, all the victims were relatives.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported on the fiery crash that ended so many lives. The driver of a 2005 Jeep Cherokee was traveling on I-65 in Jasper County, Indiana, with six other family members. Her vehicle was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer. After this occurred her vehicle was pushed into the rear of another tractor-trailer. Once her Jeep struck the second truck, a fire began which completely overtook the Jeep and its passengers. The two trucks were burned in this accident, but neither driver sustained serious injury.
The damage was so severe, that the emergency responders did not realize the extent of the tragedy until they put this fire out. Tragically, the Jeep was so badly burned, only two of the victims were found at the scene. The remainder of the deceased victims were not found until authorities removed it to another location to extricate the victims they initially found. Five additional victims were found at that time. Three adults and four children passed away in this terrible accident.
Although the cause of the accident is not fully understood yet, the investigators do not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role in this tragedy. The initial rear-end impact on the Jeep may have pushed that vehicle into the truck in front of it. It is possible that the truck traveling behind the Jeep was too close to it.
We have advised readers before of the dangers of traveling in proximity to large trucks and the importance of driving defensively around these vehicles. Trucks are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have different requirements than passenger vehicles with regard to inspections, braking systems and operation. This is because they are so large and heavy that they can cause serious injury and worse when they are sharing the road with smaller passenger vehicles.
The regulations that govern all aspects of driving and safety of trucks and commercial vehicles are found at 49 Code of Federal Regulations sections 390.1 – 390.3. These regulations cover everything from vehicle inspections, equipment and driving itself. Drivers and companies must keep records of not only their driving activities, but information on the scheduling of drivers to ensure that they are not required to travel too fast between destinations.
Georgia adopts these federal interstate trucking rules through the Georgia Department of Public Safety Transportation. This agency establishes minimum safety standards for the trucking industry as it operates in Georgia.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck or tractor-trailer accident, it is important to get the legal and medical support needed. Please contact me at my law offices, for a free evaluation of your situation or accident. Do not struggle with this on your own, guidance and assistance can help you deal with this difficult time.