Truckers Liable for Hours-of-Service Regulation Violation Wrongful Death Georgia Attorney

Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills Henry County Teen

A local high school student died on Saturday, August 20 when a tractor-trailer accident involving 9 cars occurred on I-75 in Henry County, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Seven other passengers of various cars involved in the accident received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the multi-car accident. However, the driver of the tractor-trailer, Daniel Crane of Jemez Springs, New Mexico, had exceeded the number of hours the law allowed him to drive at the time of the accident.

Officials Charged Crane with Violating Commercial Vehicle Hours of Service

The Henry Herald reports that the deceased accident victim was Summer Anne Lee, 18,  a student at Locust Grove High School. Crane’s tractor trailer struck Lee’s vehicle from behind sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 am on Saturday morning. The collision pushed Lee’s car into the car in front of her, which led to a pileup that included the five vehicles in front of her. The crash also caused a fire, which first responders were able to extinguish. Local law enforcement officials charged Crane with vehicle manslaughter, following too closely and violating commercial vehicle hours of service.

Georgia’s Hours-of-Service Regulations Hold Truckers Liable for Violations

When a driver causes an accident that results in injuries, the victim can sue that driver for negligence. In a negligence lawsuit, the victim argues that the driver at fault failed to take reasonable care to avoid injuries to others. Usually, this means that they failed to follow the rules of the road.  Commercial vehicle operators have special regulations that govern their business, because their vehicles are much heavier and more dangerous to those around them. One type of special regulation for truck drivers is called an hours-of-service limit. An hours-of-service limit says how many hours at a time a driver can operate a commercial vehicle. The limits vary with the size of the vehicle. For example, if a vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds, then the Georgia Department of Transportation says they can only drive for 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off-duty. If a truck driver violates one of these hours-of-service regulations, they may make them liable for an accident that occurs because of resulting fatigue.

Crane’s Hours-of-Service Violation Could Be Negligence

Could the survivors of Summer Anne Lee sue the truck driver Crane for negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit? They probably could. First of all, there’s plenty of evidence that Crane failed to take reasonable care to prevent injury to Lee. Law enforcement officials said he was following too close, and that alone could make him liable for an accident in which he collided with the car in front of him. On top of that, he was in violation of his hours-of-service limit. If the victim can show that there was a connection between the hours-of-service limit violation and the accident (for example, if Crane was fatigued and this caused the crash), then Crane and his employer would be liable for negligence.

Contact Us for Assistance

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, you need help from an attorney. Get in touch with a skilled truck accident attorney at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter in Cobb County to find out how we can be of assistance.

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