Georgia Dump Truck Accidents
Our Georgia truck accident firm has handled a number of collision/serious injury claims involving dump trucks.
When analyzing “big truck” accidents, many people only think of tractor-trailers. In reality, there are many types of commercial vehicles that are subject to strict regulations from both the federal government and the state of Georgia.
Dump trucks, like log trucks, usually do not weigh as much as a tractor-trailer combination; however, they are equally dangerous when operated negligently. In Georgia, a driver must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate a truck with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds. Often, dump trucks exceed this weight limit, thus triggering the need for the driver to maintain an active CDL.
Georgia also strictly regulates commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, which most dump trucks do. So, even if a CDL is not required because the dump truck does not reach the weight threshold, the truck company and driver must comply with regulations that govern qualification to drive the truck, retention of various files on the vehicle and driver, and maintenance of the vehicle.
Among the claims we have asserted in commercial truck wreck cases are:
Negligent Hiring – Companies are required to investigate the driver and his driving history before allowing him to operate a commercial vehicle. Often, trucking companies bypass this process in an effort to quickly get the driver on the road making deliveries. Or, the investigative process is poor and red flags are missed or ignored. When a company hires a bad truck driver and allows him to use one of its vehicles within the course and scope of its business, collisions often occur. In those instances, a claim for negligent hiring can be asserted.
Negligent Retention – Sometimes a driver is initially qualified to be hired because he does not have a bad driving history. But, after his employment commences, the driver begins to get speeding tickets, other moving violations, and is involved in wrecks. After enough infractions, the driver’s employment should be terminated because he is a threat to the motoring public. Yet, it is expensive and time consuming for commercial vehicle enterprises to find, hire, and train a new driver. Therefore, many trucking companies look the other away and hope for the best.
Improper Training – Truck companies have a duty to provide proper training to the drivers they hire. Specifically for dump and log trucks, some of the operation, visibility, and handling issues are different than for other “regular” commercial trucks. If a driver is not properly trained on how to use the equipment, wrecks can and often do occur.
Inadequate Truck Maintenance – Dump trucks, like other big trucks, require a lot of maintenance. This upkeep is expensive and often trucking companies do the bare minimum or even bypass various maintenance issues. Essential functions like steering, braking, and visibility issues must be closely watched and immediately repaired when an issue arises.
Distracted Driving – Increasingly, our firm has seen collisions caused by distracted drivers, both in dump trucks and tractor-trailers. Distraction comes in many forms. Drivers making deliveries in unfamiliar areas may be distracted by a GPS system or other navigational device; drivers may be talking on a cell phone, texting, or even surfing the internet while driving. All of these distractions are dangerous in any type of vehicle, but the danger is enhanced when a dump truck or other big vehicle is involved.
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