Semi-trucks criss-cross the state of Georgia every day, hauling essential goods and materials from city to city. These vehicles often weigh up to 80,000 pounds and travel at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour, if not more. As a result, when they are involved in collisions, they have the potential to cause serious injury and tremendous damage to other vehicles and property.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 100,000 people were injured by large trucks in 2012 alone. Fortunately for victims, Georgia law allows people who are injured in truck accidents caused by negligence to recover for their injuries and other losses.
Of course, no one wants to be involved in an accident with a semi-truck. One of the best ways to avoid these accidents is to understand how to drive safely around them, which in large part means making yourself visible to truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises drivers to stay out of trucks’ blind spots, which are also known as “no zones.” These include the areas:
- Directly in front of the truck – Trucks sit much higher than passenger vehicles, making it difficult for truck drivers to see the area directly in front of the truck. As a result, spending time in this area exposes both pedestrians and motorists to an increased risk of injury.
- Directly behind the truck - The fact that semi-truck tow long trailers makes it impossible for trucks to see directly behind them. A truck driver that is backing up may not be aware of objects or pedestrians in the area directly behind his or her trailer.
- On both sides of the trailer, especially on the passenger side of the truck – It is extremely difficult for trucks to see vehicles that are directly to either side of their trailer. In addition, because semis have much longer stopping distances than other vehicles, they may serve into another lane with little or no warning in an attempt to avoid an impending collision. Consequently, spending time in the area directly next to a truck puts motorists at an increased risk of being involved in a serious accident.
Semi-truck Accidents Can Be Caused by Truck Driver Negligence
While there are certainly ways that motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in an accident with a large truck, this is not to say that truck drivers are never at fault for accidents. Unfortunately, an accident can occur with a motorist who has taken even reasonable precaution to reduce risk of accident involvement, often with little or no warning.
Accidents that are caused by truck driver negligence often entitle victims to significant financial recovery for their medical expenses, lost income, and other losses they may have sustained. Some common examples of the kinds of truck driver negligence that has the potential to lead to serious accidents includes:
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
- Noncompliance with the federal hours-of-service regulations;
- Failing to conduct a pre-trip inspection; and
- Distracted driving.
There are many other ways that a truck driver could negligently cause an accident, and victims should be sure to discuss their case with an attorney familiar with litigating truck accident cases. To schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, call Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC today at (404) 869-8600.