Tractor trailer accidents can cause extensive damage, especially around a city like Atlanta. Of all the common causes of tractor trailer accidents, defective tires is one of the easiest to prevent. All truck drivers should conduct pre-trip inspections of their tires.
But that doesn’t always happen. As a case in point, several weeks ago, on February 24, 2009, defective tires caused a tractor trailer crash on I-85 near Newnan. Headed southbound, the truck driver took Exit 41 (Moreland) at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Georgia State Trooper George Cotton said that the truck driver, Edward James Clements, Jr., of Bay St. Louis, MS, came off the exit “a little too hot.”
Clements was hauling 41,000 pounds of cotton and yarn. When his truck hit some barrels on the side of the ramp, the weight of the trailer load shifted, and the tractor trailer overturned. The truck skidded 318 feet upright and 133 feet on its side before coming to a stop off the road.
Luckily, the truck did not hit any other vehicles, and nobody suffered serious injuries. (Even a trailer carrying cotton can easily be deadly!)
After firefighters cut a hole in the roof of the tractor trailer truck to remove Clements, he was sent to Piedmont Hospital with back pain.
“The driver made a quick turn because he was having some tire issues,” State Trooper Cotton told The Newnan Times-Herald. “He was pulling off to try and get the tire repaired.”
Clements was cited for failure to maintain his lane, and he was warned about having defective tires, as the tire tread was close to violation level. Defective tires can still cause accidents, even if they’re not beyond violation level.
Emergency crews had to close Exit 41, and it took them more than 3 hours to get the vehicle upright. The sheer mass of tractor trailer trucks makes them lethal weapons on the roadways. Tractor trailers make up just 3% of vehicles on the road, yet they’re involved in 21% of the fatal accidents.
To make matters worse, truck drivers are under immense pressure to drive faster and longer. Such work conditions often cause drivers to skip important safety measures like tire checks – and sleep.
If you’re ever injured in a tractor trailer accident, get names and phone numbers of witnesses, don’t admit any fault, and take photos if possible. Photograph the entire scene, including skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs, etc. Also photograph any injuries.
If you’re injured, see a doctor and call a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will need to act fast to preserve evidence. Be sure to hire a lawyer who is very familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules and Regulations and who has the time, interest, and resources to handle a truck case. Litigation can take several years, and expenses can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
MLN Law offers the expertise and resources you need to win your case. If you’ve been injured in a tractor trailer accident, call (404) 531-9700 now to schedule your free consultation.