Commercial Trucks driving on the the highway

Evidence is Critical in Commercial Truck Crashes

Atlanta personal injury lawyer Ben Keen recently filed two lawsuits in a Georgia federal court. Both lawsuits involve a defendant tractor-trailer driver rear-ending an unsuspecting plaintiff in stand-still traffic.

Both of the cases resulted in life-threatening injuries to the plaintiffs. Ben describes one of the cases in further detail below and explains some of the industry rules and regulations that may be relevant to the case and our understanding of it.

The plaintiff, in this case, was driving a tractor-trailer when he was rear-ended at a high rate of speed by the defendant driver. The defendant’s lawyer asserted that the driver who struck our plaintiff was not speeding and that the defendant’s vehicle couldn’t have exceeded the speed limit due to an “electronic speed governor” (device) restricting travel speed.

Of course, speeding is not determined by speed limit signs alone. Roadway circumstances also dictate the speed a driver should drive. In this case, stop-and-go traffic in a construction zone requires a driver to slow their vehicle and maintain control, including the ability to stop. These roadway circumstances are well known by drivers who possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

In fact, before obtaining the CDL, commercial drivers study the Georgia Commercial Driver’s License Manual to ensure that they know the roadway’s hazards. More importantly, the CDL manual also instructs commercial driver candidates on perceiving and reacting to those hazards. The Georgia CDL Manual illustrates in depth how important managing space is to commercial truck drivers.

For example, Section 2.7 says,

“Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area ahead of the vehicle – the space you’re driving into – that is most important.”

It further explains,

“The need for space ahead. You need space ahead in case you must suddenly stop. According to accident reports, the vehicle that trucks and buses most often run into is the one in front of them. The most frequent cause is following too closely. Remember, if the vehicle ahead of you is smaller than yours, it can probably stop faster than you can. You may crash if you are following too closely.”

Section 2.6.5 of the Georgia Commercial Drivers License Manual also discusses speed and traffic, stating, “when you’re driving in heavy traffic, the safest speed is the speed of other vehicles. Vehicles going in the same direction at the same speed are not likely to run into one another. In many states, speed limits are lower for trucks and buses than for cars. It can vary as much as 15 mph.”

Despite this education and employer training, many commercial truck drivers continue to put the expediency of their haul over the safety of other motorists. The defendant trucking company maintains that their defendant driver was not speeding in the face of the evidence. However, the evidence includes an impact of such force that resulted in the total destruction of the defendant’s tractor, dash camera, and black box. The defendant’s vehicle did not come to a final stop until his vehicle was jackknifed after colliding with three other vehicles.

Fortunately, the plaintiff’s vehicle was equipped with an outward-facing dash camera. Footage from the camera shows the initial impact and three sequent high-speed impacts.

Unfortunately, because the drivers in these cases failed to operate their trucks safely and with concern for others on the road, the accidents resulted in life-altering injuries to the plaintiffs. Ben Keen stated,

“These cases require precision and experience. Taking a defendant’s word for it will not result in the representation your client deserves. It is my pleasure to represent families who have fallen victim to the negligence of commercial drivers. Finding the truth takes patience and practice. However, this yields reward.”

If you have questions about this or any trucking case, contact Ben Keen.

Truck Accidents

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