Woman’s death in Clayton County likely preventable if tractor trailer had followed regulations

CLAYTON COUNTY, GA – A 76-year-old Georgia woman was killed on Dec. 4 when she drove into the back of a tractor-trailer parked on Interstate 285 just west of Clark Howell Highway in Clayton County, Georgia. Captain Tina Daniel of Clayton Police told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “it was a horrible accident.” She said the woman was westbound on the interstate and drove under the tractor trailer at a high rate of speed. The truck had stopped in the right lane of traffic after a minor collision with another tractor-trailer.

Federal Motor Carrier Regulations require commercial vehicles that are stopped to use emergency flashers, and if going to be stopped for 10 minutes or more, to use appropriate warning devices. In this situation, the Electronic Control Module download from the tractor trailer may prove how long the commercial vehicle was stopped before the impact. Additionally, Georgia law requires vehicles that can be moved out of travel lanes after a collision do so.

§392.22 Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles.

(a) Hazard warning signal flashers. Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Placement of warning devices—
(b)(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by §393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:
(b)(1)(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
(b)(1)(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and
(b)(1)(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.

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