A child died in an accident involving a passenger car and a commercial truck on North I-85 in Gwinnett. The accident occurred on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 1. At about 4 pm, Gwinnett police made the decision to close the interstate in order to investigate the crash, which occurred at mile marker 123, just past the Hamilton Mill Road exit. Two lanes of traffic were reopened at about 7 pm, with the remainder of the lanes cleared about 20 minutes later. The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, and the Gwinnett authorities have requested the assistance of the Georgia Department of Public Safety in handling the inspection of the commercial vehicle. At the time of the report, no charges had been announced and authorities had not revealed how the crash occurred. Commercial motor vehicles, also commonly referred to as semi-trucks, or tractor-trailers, are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In Georgia, the Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division oversees accidents involving the trucking industry in this state, ensuring that the driver and truck were operating in compliance with regulations that include:
- An increased amount of liability insurance as required to compensate victims who are injured in accidents resulting from these massive vehicles, which can weigh up to 30 times more than the average passenger car on the roadway.
- A lowered alcohol impairment limit. Individuals who hold a commercial driver’s license are subject to an impairment limit of .4 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood; half the legal limit of other drivers.
- Weight limits for loaded trucks, which are generally set at 80,000 pounds when the vehicle is fully loaded, though additional state restrictions apply in certain areas.
- Hours of service requirements, which prohibit the driver from working too many hours without taking an off-duty break.
- Regular maintenance schedules for trucks, and visual inspections by the driver before every trip.