The Vivian Thompson Case
Ms. Thompson’s vehicle was struck by a commercial panel truck that was owned by Refreshment Concepts. As a result of the accident, Ms. Thompson required medical care in excess of $$86,000.00.
Refreshment Concepts, at the time of the accident, the driver of their commercial truck didn’t have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Georgia commercial vehicle 150- mile radius non-CDL driver rule which states:
1. Drivers of property-carrying commercial vehicles that stay within a 150 air mile radius are not required to have a CDL, and there is an exception to the record of duty log and 14 hour rules.
2. Under this exception, drivers are allowed to extend their 14-hour period by 2 hours twice a week and can maintain a time record in lieu of a time log.
3. Non-CDL drivers include any driver that operates property-carrying commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds but less than 26,000 pounds, that includes many box trucks and delivery motor vehicles.
There are, however, specific requirements to the 150-mile radius non-CDL rule.
A non-cdl driver who operates a property-carrying commercial vehicle that does not require a CDL is not required under Part 282 is exempt from the log requirements and the 14- hour rule if:
1. The driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the location where the driver reports to and is released from work. and
2. The driver returns to their normal work reporting location at the end of each duty tour; and
3. The driver doesn’t drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty on 5 days of any period of 7 consecutive days, or after the 16th hour after coming on duty 2 days of any period of 7 consecutive days; and
3. The motor carrier that employs the driver maintains for 6 months, accurate records showing the time the driver reports for duty each day, the total number of hours the driver is on duty each day, and the time the driver is released from duty each day (and the total time for the preceding 7 days for drivers used for the first time, intermittently.
Georgia Commercial Vehicle 150-Mile Radius Non-CDL and Vivian Thompson
In the Vivian Thompson case, Refreshment Concepts, the owners of the truck that struck Ms. Thompson, didn’t dispute the fact that they failed to use any type of timekeeping system for any of their drivers.
Refreshment Concepts also didn’t dispute that had they checked even the scan gun check-ins, it would have been obvious that the driver who struck Ms. Thompson had been working dangerously long days for a number of years. What’s worse, the Safety Director at Donegal Insurance Group didn’t know the Georgia regulations regarding commercial vehicles.
The week of the crash, the driver for Refreshment Concepts that struck Ms. Thompson had worked approximately 65 hours and testified that no one bothers to review his time on the job. In addition, he kept exceeding the allowable hours the week after the accident. The Safety Director at Donegal even admitted that the hours the driver that struck Ms. Thompson worked were unsafe, even though they help train the drivers
Also, Refreshment Concepts relies on Donegal Insurance Group to conduct post-collision safety reviews, and no corrective action was taken after the accident involving Ms. Thompson on the part of Refreshment Concepts.
On the day of the accident, the driver for Refreshment Concepts woke up at 1:00 am to get to work. He started work at 1:45am and worked all day with no break. He struck Ms. Thompson at 5:30pm with another 20 minutes left to drive.
The driver of the truck owned by Refreshment Concepts testified that the brakes were bad on the truck and had been discussed at safety meetings and that the trucks were overloaded the majority of the time.
For trial, the attorney for Vivian Thompson, will file a direct negligence claim against Donegal Insurance Group and a punitive damages claim against the refreshment company based on reckless disregard for safety, for failing to follow state law, and for failure to monitor the data they had.