September 2012 Archives

September 26, 2012

Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills 2 in Road Construction Zone

Two motorists were killed this week in a tragic accident involving a tractor-trailer, a highway patrol cruiser and a TDOT truck.

The accident in Bradley County occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. Monday just north of the Charleston exit on 75. A road worker and the driver of the semi were killed. 714551_sign_1.jpg

Knoxville car accident lawyers understand that the fall season brings a confluence of risk to Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park region. Road crews are racing to get work completed before cold weather; school buses are back on the road; leaf-peepers will fill lodges and cabins through the busy autumn tourist season; and even as it gets darker earlier we are feeling that autumn chill in the air that signals the beginning of cold winter weather.

Organizations like the National Safety Council are already reporting the number of serious and fatal accidents has increased nationwide with the economic recovery. Through July, more than 20,000 motorists were killed on the nation's roads this year -- up nearly eight percent from last year. Tennessee is not bucking the trend, unfortunately, and the last three months of the year are typically the most dangerous.

Interstate 75 was closed for more than eight hours after the crash. Authorities say a 53-year-old Grainger County man was driving a semi load of live chickens through a marked construction zone when he slammed into a truck from the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The truck driver and a 28-year-old construction worker from Ohio were killed. The trucks also struck a trooper's cruiser, sending him to the hospital.

"They're risking their lives every day just doing their jobs and it's sobering," Jennifer Flynn, a TDOT spokesperson, told NBC3 News in Chattanooga.

TDOT said it is trying to do as much work as possible either at night or during other off-peak hours. And safety advocates are reminding motorists to obey the state's Move Over Law (T.C.A. 55-8-132).

-Motorists are required to move over and/or slow down when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle at the side of the road when emergency lights are activated. The law gives equal protection to recovery vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks.

-Violation is a Class B misdemeanor, which is a fairly serious charge punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

-Motorists may also face substantial fines for speeding in a marked road construction zone.

Speeds through such projects are lowered to give drivers and road crews more time to react. One such project here in Knoxville is the widening of State Route 62/Western Avenue, which started in 2010 and is not slated for completion until 12/31/2013, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Two lanes of traffic are being maintained (one in each direction) and the speed limit has been reduced to 40 mph. The Knoxville Police Department monitors traffic through the construction site.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 700 people are killed in highway construction zones each year. In 2008, a total of 11 people were killed in work-zone accidents in Tennessee.

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September 20, 2012

Tennessee School Bus Accident Injures 20

A high school student was in critical condition after a Tennessee school bus accident injured 20. Authorities report the bus flipped three times on Mount Wesley Road in Washington County.

Knoxville personal injury lawyers understand autumn is the most dangerous time of year for school bus accidents. Bus drivers are new to the job or coming back after summer break. Motorists are often impatient when the slow, lumbering yellow buses reappear on our roads. Add to that the large number of children walking, riding bikes and taking the bus to and from school each day and the risks for accidents increase exponentially.

While most think the majority of busing accidents occur when traveling to and from school, the fact is a significant number of these accidents occur when a bus is traveling on a field trip, sporting event or other after-school activity.

In this case, the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports one of the bus' tires slipped off the narrow shoulder of the road.

CNN reports the bus was carrying 67 passengers at the time of the crash, which was caused by the driver overcorrecting. Accident victims were taken to Johnson Medical Center, Holston Valley Medical Center and Franklin Woods Community Hospital. Two underwent surgery and were expected to recover, according to hospital staff.

Twelve patients were hospitalized overnight. Neck injuries, scalp lacerations and broken bones were among the injuries reported. 793842_school_bus.jpg

The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security reports nearly 10,000 school buses a day hit the roads in Tennessee. Public school districts are responsible for bus safety. Bus drivers with a school-bus endorsement must undergo a mandatory 4-hour safety-training session and buses must undergo two types of inspections -- annual and follow-ups, which occur during the school year.

At the age of 12, buses must also undergo extended utilization inspections each summer. At age 17, a bus must be removed from service.

But the fact remains many school-bus accidents are pedestrian accidents that occur around a bus or near a bus stop -- either when a school bus or a passenger vehicle strikes a student. It's for this reason that Tennessee law requires all cars to stop for a bus displaying red flashing lights (unless traveling the opposite direction on the other side of a divided highway). This is your signal that the bus is loading or unloading passengers.

Motorists should remain vigilant in neighborhoods, especially during the early morning and afternoon hours. And parents should teach their child how to get to and from the bus stop safely. Clarksville Online reports children are most at risk of being hit when running to catch the bus.

Tennessee School Bus Safety Tips:

-Teach children to get to the bus stop on time and not to engage in horseplay. Students should wait at least 5 giant steps away from the curb.

-Teach your child to make eye contact with the bus driver and other motorists and make sure it's safe to cross.

-Children should be taught never to attempt to retrieve an item dropped beneath the bus; notify the bus driver.

-Parents who believe a bus stop is located in a dangerous place should be proactive in contacting their school district.

Continue reading "Tennessee School Bus Accident Injures 20" »

September 14, 2012

Tennessee ATV Safety: Fatal Campbell County Accident Highlights Autumn Risks

A teenager from Campbell County was recently killed in an ATV accident. The 17-year-old LaFollette youth was thrown off of his ATV while riding along Doaks Creek Road. He was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver of the ATV, a 16-year-old Speedwell teen, was heading eastbound on that roadway when he tried to make a U-turn. That's when his passenger fell off of the vehicle, according to KnoxNews.

Our Knoxville accident lawyers understand that fall in Tennessee is prime time for enjoying the outdoors, and that includes riding four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles. Please keep safety your top priority. There were close to 320 people who were killed in ATV accidents in the U.S. in 2010. Another 120,000 people were injured in these accidents. In Tennessee, more than 430 people died in ATV accidents from 1982 to 2010. About 100 of these fatalities were of child riders who were under the age of 16-years-old.

Tennessee State ATV Laws:

-Both riders and passengers who ride on three-wheeled ATVs are required to ride in specific state park riding areas.

- All riders must wear helmets and eye protection at all times.

- All four-wheeled ATVs are not allowed in any state parks.

- ATVs are not allowed to be driven on the state's highways, except to cross the road.

- Each ATV is required to be titled with the owner receiving an identification device that shall be placed on the ATV.

Remember that manufacturers build different size ATVs for use by different age groups. You should always make sure that you're driving an ATV that is designed for your size and experience level. You should also never let children ride an ATV without adult supervision.

Nationwide, children under the age of 16 account for close to 30 percent of all ATV accident fatalities. Over the last 10 years, the number of children killed in off-road vehicle accidents has increased by more than 85 percent.

These are costly accidents, too! According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), medical treatment for riders under the age of 16 total nearly $3 million each year.

Tips for ATV Riding:

- Consider taking a hands-on training course.

- Always wear your protective gear. Wear gloves, a helmet, long pants, goggles, boots, long-sleeved clothing and proper footwear.

- Never drive your ATV on a paved road. ATVs are difficult to handle on paved roadways. This also makes collisions with cars more likely.

- Never drive an ATV with a passenger. Most ATVs are only designed to carry one person.

- Never allow children to drive or ride without an adult. Kids who are under 16 who ride on an adult ATV are about twice as likely to be injured as those riding on a youth ATV.

- Never drive an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Continue reading "Tennessee ATV Safety: Fatal Campbell County Accident Highlights Autumn Risks" »