Understanding Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report Codes
Many car accidents have more than one cause. In some situations, one of those causes is related to the condition of the road. For that reason, crash reports in Georgia have a separate section that allows an officer to describe road conditions that likely contributed to the crash (even if they were not the only cause). This section is known as “roadway contributing factors.” This information can be beneficial to your car accident case, but it could also provide a defense for the other driver in some situations as well.
What types of roadway contributing factors are included on a crash report?
The crash report includes an option to indicate that there were no contributing factors. Because this section cannot be left blank, this option could be checked when nothing other than carelessness, recklessness, or inattention caused the crash.
Road conditions that contributed to the accident may include:
- Shoulder (none, low, soft, high): Sometimes there are problems with the shoulder of the road that causes a driver to lose control if they hit it. When there is no shoulder, for example, it is much easier to fly off the road, without the ability to stop yourself.
- Ruts, Holes, Bumps: Road maintenance can play an important role in the ability of a driver to control their car. Large bumps or holes may surprise a driver and end up causing overcorrection issues that lead to accidents.
- Loose Material on Surface: The most common example of loose material is gravel, but it can also include dirt or other debris. In many situations, new dirt or gravel can result in over-application that can be dangerous.
- Water Standing: Standing water can lead to hydroplaning, which occurs when your tires no longer touch the surface of the road. It takes away your ability to steer for a short time, which is not only scary but also very dangerous.
- Work Zone: Construction areas can not only put debris and other materials on the road, but repainted lines can be confusing to follow, or there may be traffic cones or other protective barriers out of place. Any of these can result in severe accidents.
- Running Water: Fast moving water can be hazardous. If possible, you should avoid driving through moving water as it can sweep away vehicles if you are not cautious.
- Backup Due to Prior Crash/Secondary Crash: Sometimes collisions are not cleared away fast enough to avoid secondary accidents. In many situations, vehicles following closely behind may not be able to react appropriately to avoid hitting a stalled car or collision scene.
- Traffic congestion: Stop and go traffic is difficult to deal with in any circumstance, but in some situations, it can lead to accidents, especially for drivers who are not paying attention to the road in front of them.
- Road Surface Condition: When the roadway becomes a wet, slushy, or even has snow, it can become very dangerous to drive in that area. Keep in mind that you should only drive as fast as road conditions permit.
- Obstruction in Roadway: When you come across debris or other items in the road, you may not be able to react fast enough to avoid a collision. Whoever left the obstruction or created it may be legally responsible for your injuries after that type of accident.
- Visual Obstruction: There are two types of visual obstructions. The most common obstruction Is due to vegetation along the roadway. Overgrown plants and bushes may inhibit your ability to see oncoming traffic, which is extremely dangerous. The other type is simply described as “other” on the Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash report. That means that any visual obstruction could fall into this category.
- Incident Response Team: some accidents occur because a driver is unsure of how to react to another collision. Sometimes this is due to inattention, but it could also be caused by negligent handling of the accident scene.
There is an additional category for “other” as well. That means that there was some road condition that was relevant for your crash, but it has not been specifically coded. Instead, the officer will have to write a more detailed description of the conditions in the notes or comment section of your report.
Using Roadway Contributing Factors in Your Car Accident Case
Roadway contributing factors may be vital information for your personal injury case. Keep in mind that even if you are in a one-car crash, you may still have legal options. John Foy & Associates can help you assess your options during your case evaluation meeting. Fill out the form to your right or call us at (404)-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.