Trucking Accidents Involve Teens Too


Many teens – and maybe even their parents – may feel that an trucking accident isn’t something they need to concern themselves with. After all, you would be hard-pressed to find a teenager operating a big-rig.

speeding truck

However, because teens share the road with these large vehicles, it’s important for parents to discuss how to navigate safely around them. Teens need to be reminded of the dangers around these vehicles, which can sometimes weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Many teens driving are familiar with passenger cars and trucks, but their chances of survival decrease exponentially if they tangle with a large truck. It’s a topic many driver’s education courses may simply gloss over, so it’s crucial for parents to make sure their teen is educated about the dangers

Our Atlanta trucking accident attorneys believe this discussion is all the more important to have in light of a recent study that revealed the number of teens car accident fatalities is on an alarmingly upward incline.

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of drivers aged 17 and under who died in passenger vehicles increased during the first half of 2011, compared to the first six months of 2010. This was true for all 50 states and Washington D.C.

The statistics showed that 16 and 17-year-olds killed in car accidents increased by 11 percent during that time frame. Once figures are tabulated for the end of 2011, if that is a trend that continues, it will mean the end of eight consecutive years of a decline in teen driver fatalities.

While there is no breakdown in this report of exactly how many of those specifically involved large trucks, what we do know from previous research is that those involved in Atlanta trucking accidents suffer more severe injuries than those who crash into other passenger vehicles.

In a large-scale study conducted by the National Highway Safety Association, researchers looked at trucking accident data from 1975 to 2005. What they found was that more than 7 percent of those killed in trucking accidents were teens ages 17 and under. The next-highest age group, those ages 18 to 25, suffered 17 percent of the total trucking accident fatalities – the most of any other age group. This alone should be evidence enough for parents to have a discussion with their teens about driving around large trucks.

The Geico Educational Foundation in 2009 released a brochure with tips for teens to avoid trucking accidents. The first of those is to be aware of the trucker’s blind spots, also referred to as “no zones.” A good general rule is that if you can’t see the trucker’s mirror, he or she is not going to be able to see you. If you need to pass a truck, make sure you can see the front of the rig in your rear view mirror before you pull ahead. Never swerve in front of a truck or come to an abrupt stop just ahead of a truck, as these large vehicles can’t stop as quickly as the driver of a passenger vehicle. Lastly, avoid getting between a turning truck and the curb, as these vehicles often require a large amount of space to make their wide turns.

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About Richard Hendrix

Richard W. Hendrix is a former state and federal prosecutor who has more than 30 years of experience in complex civil and criminal litigation. He has also served as a mediator in Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR).

Since joining Finch McCranie in 1985, Mr. Hendrix has built an extensive litigation practice focusing on wrongful death and serious personal injury cases as well as federal white collar criminal defense cases. He has successfully represented injured parties in personal injury cases throughout the state of Georgia. Mr. Hendrix has also effectively defended business and individuals, including a former US Congressman, against indictments and grand jury investigations. In 2006 and 2008-2012, he was selected to Georgia Super Lawyers.

He is admitted to practice in Georgia and South Carolina. Mr. Hendrix is licensed to appear before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and the District of South Carolina as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Fifth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit.

From 1979-1985, Mr. Hendrix served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. He was also Associate Independent Counsel for the investigation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1991-1992.

Mr. Hendrix graduated with cum laude honors from Davidson College and he received his law degree from Emory University. Since 1992, Mr. Hendrix has been an Adjunct Professor of Litigation at Georgia State University College of Law. He is also a Master of the Bench with the Lamar American Inn of Court where he works to enhance the professional, ethics and skills of the legal community.

Mr. Hendrix has also authored numerous articles including: “High Speed Police Chases and Injured Innocent By-Standers,” The Verdict (Summer, 2015) “Tolling the Statute of Limitations in Tort Cases for Victims of a Crime,” The Verdict (Fall, 2007); “A Refresher On the Federal Tort Claims Act,” The Verdict (Winter, 1999); “Rule 16 and the Jencks Act: A Need for Legal Reform,” Calendar Call (Winter, 1996); “Corporate Criminal Liability: The Need for Effective Compliance Programs,” South Carolina Lawyer (March/April, 1993); “Crossing State Lines in Wrongful Death Actions: Traps for the Unwary,” The Verdict (Fall, 1990); and “White Collar Crime: New Tools for Prosecution,” The Atlanta Lawyer (Summer, 1986)