Newer vehicles are generally larger and safer than ever. Newer vehicles equipped with higher-end airbags and other safety features may also allow a driver to maintain more control in the immediate aftermath of a collision, which reduces rollovers and roadway departures.
That's great news - unless you are in an accident with one. Those involved in an Atlanta car accident with newer, larger vehicles are more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Put simply, it's a matter of physics. Larger vehicles offer more protection in the event of an auto accident, but they also inflict more damage.
Danger of Large Vehicles in Atlanta Traffic Collisions
In some ways, the inherent dangers of larger vehicles are quite obvious. We all know our passenger cars, even our beloved pickups and SUVs, are no match for an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer - which is the primary reason trucking accidents in Atlanta are so dangerous.
But we often miss the increased risks posed by the four-wheel-drive pickup trucks and large SUVs parked in the neighbor's driveway. And what about all those jacked-up trucks?
In some cases, Georgia law imposes additional duties and restrictions upon vehicle owners, particularly if a vehicle has been modified. State law, § 40-8-6.1, prohibits most pickups from exceeding 27 inches of lift between the ground and the lowest point on the frame of the truck. Larger trucks may not exceed 30 or 31 inches by law. Generally this is about 2 inches of added lift on a stock truck suspension.
The aim is to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding under a larger vehicle, which typically results in very serious or fatal injury to passenger-vehicle occupants.
Science Nordic also recently reported on the hidden risks posed by electric vehicles, which are often substantially heavier because of battery weight.
Liability in Collisions with Smaller Vehicles
However, the size of your vehicle offers you no added protection under the law when negotiating Atlanta's brutal traffic. And the size of your vehicle, unless inappropriately modified, may have little direct impact on your liability in the event of a serious or fatal collision. It's how you operated that vehicle that truly matters.
Reckless operation of a large truck or SUV can result in liability for the larger vehicle's operator. Georgia negligence laws require operators to use reasonable care. When they fail to use due care and another party is injured, the at-fault party may be liable for damages. When they fail to use care in a larger vehicle, more serious or deadly injuries are a likely result.
While driving that new pickup truck of SUV will likely keep you safer in the event of an accident, doing your part to operate in a safe manner will keep other motorists safer and reduce your potential liability in the event of a collision. In the event of a crash, an experienced auto accident attorney can provide further legal advice.