If you or a loved one were injured because of a tractor-trailer accident in Georgia, you could consult with a tractor-trailer accident lawyer. They will help you recognize your legal options, including how to bring an effective insurance claim or lawsuit. Dozier Law has substantial experience helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. We will be there for you. To learn more, contact Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.
Causes Of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can cause devastating effects on those surrounding them on the highway. These large vehicles and their cargo can weigh up to 40 tons. In addition to its weight, it has a higher center of gravity since it is so tall, making it less stable and more prone to tipping over. Being a truck driver can involve driving for many consecutive hours daily.
Some of the most common reasons for tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Aggressive Driving – This can apply to both truck drivers and the other drivers around them. Speeding, quick lane changes, and road rage are always dangerous, even more so when a tractor-trailer is involved.
- Fatigue – When tractor-trailer drivers are tired, they need to stop and rest. The state requires this, and it should be common sense. Trucking companies have to set forth rules for rest breaks and limit the hours their employees drive each day.
- DUI – Driving under the influence is bad for any driver, but tractor-trailer drivers under the influence can be devastating.
- Equipment Failure – Tractor-trailer companies and their mechanics must ensure that the trucks are adequately maintained and operate correctly and do not pose any risks on the road. Additionally, truck part manufacturers must ensure parts are not defective.
- Failure to Secure Load – Tractor-trailers operators must ensure that the cargo is secure. Loose cargo can easily cause an accident if dropped, and unbalanced cargo can cause the tractor-trailer to tip during turns.
Legal Standard For Tractor-Trailer Drivers
For obvious reasons, tractor-trailer drivers have a higher standard of care than ordinary drivers. Since they require a commercial license, they must have special training and knowledge and be skilled in driving tractor-trailers. Like other professions requiring a heightened standard of care, those who drive tractor-trailers for a living are also subject to a heightened standard of care.
In hazardous weather conditions, tractor-trailer drivers have an even higher standard of care. The federal government has imposed specific regulations when bad weather conditions exist. These regulations heighten the standard of “extreme caution” rather than a state standard of “ordinary care” for interstate commercial truckers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations define this standard, 49 C.F.R. § 392.14, which requires:
“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 by the driver. ”
Georgia adopted the same “extreme caution rule.” Examples of the “extreme caution” rule include:
- Wet Roads – Reduce speed by about one-third (e.g., slow from 55 to about 35 mph) on a wet road.
- Snow – On packed snow, reduce speed by a half or more.
- Icy Roads – If the surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop driving as soon as you can safely do so.
These heightened standards for truck drivers are methods to prevent truck accidents on the highways and protect those in the vicinity of the tractor-trailers. However, when these standards are not adhered to, accidents may occur. When they do, the consequences are severe. It is vital to have a tractor-trailer accident attorney review your claim for the above reasons. If a tractor-trailer has injured you or a loved one, please contact an attorney for guidance.
If you are ever injured due to a tractor-trailer accident in Georgia, you should speak with a tractor-trailer accident lawyer. They will help ensure you make sense of your legal options and rights and how you could go about bringing a proper lawsuit or insurance claim. Dozier Law has a lot of experience helping victims get the most possible compensation in injury claims. We’re here for you. To get started, contact Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.