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

Car crash on two-lane highway kills 2, injures 4

A highway that has two lanes, with only one lane going in each direction, can be a road where many accidents occur. In Tennessee and elsewhere, a motorist must use due care in passing in these circumstances. Where a car crash occurs due to improper passing, the driver attempting to pass will usually be held liable for injuries and deaths that are caused.

One such highway in Tennessee is reportedly dangerous due to having only two lanes and to motorists attempting to pass under hazardous passing conditions. Recently, two people died and four were injured on Highway 14 for that very reason. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the driver of a pickup truck going south tried to pass by entering the northbound lane.

He ran into oncoming traffic and struck three vehicles in the process. One other vehicle slid into the crash, making it a five-car crash. The dead and injured were not identified by vehicle, and it is presently unclear if the driver of the pickup was killed. If he was killed, his estate would likely be responsible for compensation of the victims. If he survived, he will likely be held  personally liable.

Photos of the accident scene show an unbroken double yellow line on the roadway. When the double line is unbroken, this means that passing is prohibited at all times. Only when the double line is broken on the driver's side of the lines may a driver cross into the oncoming lane to pass. A motorist must pass in that situation only after making sure that there is no oncoming traffic.

In this case, the unbroken double line makes the pickup driver even more conclusively negligent and perhaps reckless. The driver attempted to pass in a no-passing zone, thereby causing the car crash, which rises to the level of negligence per se under Tennessee law and all other jurisdictions. That means basically that the victim does not have to prove negligence if the driver is convicted of passing in a no-passing zone, and if that violation was directly responsible for the accident.

Source: wmcactionnews5.com, "Victims identified in fatal Highway 14 crash", Nov. 6, 2015

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