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Tractor Trailer Rollovers Are Caused by Multiple Factors

Mark Arum, known as the “Gridlock Guy”,reported in the AJC last Sunday about tractor trailer rollover wrecks, and the numerous factors that contribute.

Between 2001 and 2012, there are 212 rollover wrecks in Georgia that involved tractor trailers, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. Of the locations where these incidents occurred, 40 rollover wrecks took place on the I-285 and I-75 interchange on the south side of the perimeter, with I-285 being the highway where most of these wrecks happened overall. Following the I-285 and I-75 interchange is the interchange between I-285 and I-20, with 32 rollover wrecks and I-285 at I-85 on the south side of the perimeter again is where the third-most frequent location for tractor trailer rollovers occurred, with 31. Behind this location is in Savannah at I-95 and I-16, with 18 rollover wrecks, and lastly, Spaghetti Junction incurred 17 rollover wrecks.

Arum consulted with aWSB employee and truck driver to answer a few questions regarding the factors that contribute to so many tractor trailer rollover wrecks. Atlanta is known for being a city plagued by outlandish and frustrating traffic, and we also are a central location for tractor trailer travel. High volume traffic coupled with a high make-up of tractor trailers translates to more collisions overall that include rollovers.

The biggest contribution factors to rollover wrecks are two-fold: Tractor trailers typically carry large loads-that is what they are designed for-and if these loads are not centrally balanced and secured, the distribution of weight can cause these vehicles to tip over if the driver is going too fast around curves or on ramps. Similarly, a ramp that is not marked sufficiently, forcing the driver to jerk the truck in attempts to get into the correct lane, can also contribute to this phenomenon. Case in point is the fact that four times as many rollover wrecks have occurred on the south side interchange between I-285 and I-75 where road markings are much less visible in comparison to these same highway interchanges on the north side.

To prevent these types of truck wrecks and subsequent injuries, tractor trailer drivers must be vigilant in paying close attention to ramp speed limits, curves of the roadways, and road markings. The Department of Transportation must also be proactive in ensuring that ramps are marked clearly and unambiguously. This combined partnership would apparently drastically decrease the amount of rollover wrecks in the future.