- October 25, 2022
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Vehicle Accidents
When you’re traveling without a personal car, road safety probably isn’t high on your list of concerns. Cities like Atlanta, with a high volume of tourism and business travelers, have services available to get you where you’re going, especially to and from hubs like Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Other than figuring out budgeting and scheduling, most visitors don’t think twice about making use of hotel shuttles and similar services. After all, these are established companies, their staff are professionals, and many of them transport hundreds of people every day. It’s reasonable to expect them to know what they’re doing.
Unfortunately, safety violations and serious accidents are more common among commercial passenger vehicles than you might expect.
A Single Hotel Shuttle Crash Once Resulted in 18 Injuries Outside Hartsfield-Jackson
On the morning of May 24th, 2013, a tractor trailer attempted a U-turn on North Loop Road, in front of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s AirTran hangar.
A hotel shuttle bus carrying 17 passengers from nearby Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn and Hilton hotels braked in an effort to avoid hitting the truck, as it turned sideways across all lanes. The bus skidded 158 feet before ultimately striking the left side of the truck. The bus driver and all passengers were injured, and at least two of them were admitted to the hospital in serious condition.
Subsequent investigations found a laundry list of negligence on both sides of the collision.
Both drivers were charged with an assortment of offenses, including three shared felony counts of serious injury by motor vehicle. The felony charges against the bus driver were later dropped, but they were replaced with charges against the owner of the shuttle company, MTI Shuttle and Limousine, for allowing a person to operate an unsafe vehicle, and allowing an unlicensed person to operate a vehicle.
Problems were found with both the tires and brakes of the bus, and the driver did not have the full commercial driver’s license she needed to operate a vehicle of that size legally.
The truck driver was also charged with making an improper turn. The trucking company he was driving for, USA Truck, had been cited for 549 unsafe driving violations and 3,027 maintenance violations in the previous two years alone, and was involved in eight fatal accidents.
Either one of these companies could likely have prevented these travelers’ injuries simply by adhering to basic legal safety obligations, without needing to take any extraordinary measures.
Survivors of Recent Travel Accidents Have Strong Grounds to Sue
Because the MTI shuttle bus crash happened nine years ago, it’s unlikely that anyone involved would be able to initiate legal proceedings now. Georgia’s default statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. This period can be extended for a variety of reasons, including ongoing criminal proceedings, but usually only for a further six years.
However, that crash is just one particularly dramatic example of inadequate safety precautions from travel and transport companies.
Persuading for-profit companies to refrain from dangerous corner-cutting is a perpetual struggle, carried on through legislation, regulation, and civil litigation. The role of litigation is crucial, because most companies are less concerned with the law than they are with the financial consequences of their actions. In order for safety laws to be followed, there has to be a monetary cost to breaking them.
Survivors who sue for compensation help enforce that cost.
If you have been injured by unsafe travel services in the Atlanta area, call or message The Stoddard Firm to discuss your possible next steps.