Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

1 dead in car crash caused by attempt to pass on 2-lane road

Everyone has probably at one time or another experienced the dangers of trying to pass a vehicle on a two-lane roadway that contains only one lane of traffic in the direction traveled, and one lane coming the other way. The rules of the road in Tennessee and elsewhere are fairly uniform and specific; nonetheless, an attempt to pass the car ahead is often risking a potential car crash. One two-lane road in Gibson County was the scene of a fatal accident on Saturday, July 11, when a motorist's attempt to pass a vehicle in front of him on a two-lane road resulted in a head-on crash with a motorcycle.

The 77-year-old car driver was traveling on a local roadway at about 8:45 p.m., when he pulled into the other lane to try and pass the car in front of him, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The driver apparently did not observe that a motorcycle was coming in the other direction, and a head-on crash with the cycle occurred. The motorcycle driver was killed.

While many drivers report having difficulties seeing motorcycles on the highway, that is not an excuse for the duty to observe all oncoming traffic prior to attempting what could be a perilous venture into oncoming traffic. Furthermore, it is never safe to do when visibility is obstructed by an incline or a bend in the road ahead. A driver also may not attempt such a pass unless the middle line on the road is painted with broken segments and is not a solid unbroken line.

Clearly, in Tennessee and all states a driver who pulls out into the passing lane on a two-lane, two directional road bears the responsibility of knowing when it is safe to do so. It would appear that the passing driver did not see the oncoming motorcycle, or if he did, he disregarded the length of roadway it would take to get back into the correct lane. Based on the known facts at this point, the estate of the motorcycle driver is entitled to make a claim against the other driver for wrongful death damages caused by the car crash.  

Source: jacksonsun.com, "One killed in motorcycle crash in Gibson County", Maranda Faris, July 12, 2015

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