Understanding Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report Codes
The vast majority of car accidents involve moving vehicles. That’s why the Georgia motor vehicle crash report allows an officer to describe what the car was doing just before or during the collision—known as the “vehicle maneuver” section of the report. The turning categories are used the most often, but other descriptions are helpful as well. Describing what the vehicle was doing may be important to determine the cause of the crash, an extremely important to your lawsuit, whether it involves a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian.
Types of Vehicle Maneuvers Noted on the Crash Report
Every crash is different, but many have the same patterns. That is why is it relatively easy to classify each type of collision as having a specific maneuver attached to it. Normally, an officer will use one of the maneuvers listed below. But, there is an “other” category as well, just in case some of the more traditional movements are not appropriate for your situation.
- Turning Left and Turning Right. Turning vehicles are much more likely to collide with another car or pedestrian than those traveling straight. Left turn accidents are especially dangerous because you cross oncoming traffic to make your turn. Right turns may cut off a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist to your right if you’re not careful.
- Making a U-turn. U-turns can be very dangerous because you often cannot effectively signal for them and you are essentially cutting off two lanes of traffic when you make this type of move. Be sure to only make U-turns in areas where they are permitted.
- Stopped and Parked. When another car hits a stopped or parked vehicle, the officer will note that one of the other cars was not moving at the time of the collision. Note that there’s a difference between a stopped vehicle (often found at an intersection) and a car that parked (such as along the side of the road or in a parking lot).
- When a vehicle is traveling straight, the officer will mark this particular maneuver. Note that there is another section for changing lanes or driving on a curve. The car actually has to be moving straight ahead for this code to be indicated.
- Changing Lanes. The vehicle must actually be in the act of switching lanes with the crash occurred to use this code—not slowing or signally to move, but actually engaging in the movement.
- You may be surprised to learn of the large number of crashes that take place because someone was not looking behind them while backing. Also, small vehicles, like bikes and motorcycles, are easy to miss when you’re backing up.
- This code is different from switching lanes—it is more often used on two-lane roads instead of four-lane highways or interstates. This code will be used if the vehicle was passing, even if the car was traveling straight ahead.
- Negotiating a Curve. Curves can be very tricky, especially when a driver is speeding or when there are other factors at play, such as weather or poor road conditions.
- Entering/Leaving Parking or Driveway. Each of these conditions has a separate code, but they are similar. Sometimes it can be difficult to see when drivers leave parking areas or driveways, or they may not always look out for those around them as well as they should.
- PIT stands for “Pursuit Intervention Technique.” It is used when an officer is attempting to apprehend a fleeing vehicle. Essentially, the officer will speed up so that they are right alongside the car and then pass them about half of a car length and suddenly merge into their lane of traffic, generally on the right. The maneuver stops the fleeing vehicle because it has virtually no choice but to run into the side of the officer’s car or off the road. It is rare that this type of maneuver will be noted on an accident report that is at issue in a car accident case, but it could happen.
The officer will use these codes for any and all vehicles involved in a collision. There are situations where a vehicle’s maneuver may not be known, but those are rare—such as in large pile-up accidents.
There is a separate section for maneuvers that do not involve vehicles, including pedestrians and children who may have run into the road. These are referred to as “non-motorist maneuvers.” You can see all the sections here.
Using Vehicle Maneuver in Your Car Accident Case
Knowing just what a car was doing before an accident will give you a good indication of what actually caused the crash and who was at fault. If you have been in a crash, and you are ready to talk to a personal injury lawyer, John Foy & Associates is here for you. Fill out the form to your right or call us at (404)-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.