A truck-only highway from Macon to Atlanta is among the proposals aimed at reducing congestion and the risk of Georgia trucking accidents.
NPR is reporting that the 40-mile truck-only highway would cost $1.8 billion and be the first of its kind in the country. It would be funded by the gas tax passed in 2015, though construction isn't slated to begin until 2025.
The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that the project would run alongside I-75 northbound, from I-475 near Macon to McDonough, south of Atlanta. The toll-free road will have a barrier separating truck lanes from passenger vehicle lanes. Trucks will also have their own ramps.
Deadly Risk of Commercial Truck Accidents in Atlanta
Industry watchers say the widening of the Port of Savannah and expansion of the Panama Canal are among the factors expected to double the number of trucks on the roads in metro Atlanta by 2040.
Fleet Owner magazine reports the project could also ease traffic along Atlanta's Spaghetti Junction, the intersection of 85 North and I-285, which has been named the most congested freight bottleneck for the past three years.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration reports 3.7 million long-distance truckers operate on the nation's roads with another 2.2 million operating on a statewide basis. That number is projected to continue to grow as the nation faces a shortage of 50,000 truckers with Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) in the coming years.
Despite the increased traffic, the number of state and federal roadside safety inspections has declined in each of the past few years. More than 171,000 citations were issued for failure to keep log books current (which are designed to prevent drivers from spending too much time at the wheel). Other top causes of citations included speeding (67,487), violations of hours-of-service regulations (58,757) and operating without a valid medical certificate (45,890).
Avoiding Atlanta Trucking Accidents this Summer
A fully-loaded tractor-trailer in Atlanta weighs 80,000 pounds, compared to just about 3,500 pounds for the average passenger vehicle. The size disparity means motorists are the ones most often seriously injured or killed in a collision with a trucker.
While separating these big rigs from smaller passenger traffic is an excellent idea when it comes to safety, such proposed highways of the future will not help keep you safe during the summer travel season. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers motorists a number of safety tips:
- Stay out of truck blind spots, which extend along both sides of a truck and for a space of 20 to 30 feet in front of and behind a tractor-trailer.
- Don't linger alongside a large truck or trailer. Use proper signals and pass promptly when it's safe to do so.
- Don't cut in front of trucks. Cutting in front of a truck before you can clearly see the truck driver in your rearview mirror means the truck will not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting you.
- Don't tailgate a large truck or bus. It makes it more difficult to see road conditions ahead and can lead to deadly underride accidents when a passenger vehicle passes beneath the rear of a trailer in a rear-end collision.
- Expect a truck to make wide turns in both directions. Give a truck plenty of room and don't allow yourself to be trapped alongside.
- Be patient. Being involved in an accident with a large truck can be life-threatening.
- Stay focused. Avoid distraction at all times while on the road, but especially when dealing with large-truck traffic.
In the event of an accident with a large commercial vehicle, you should seek the legal advocacy of an experienced truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C.