The case involves an accident involving an airport shuttle in Georgia. The Plaintiff was riding in a van operated by the Defendant driver and shuttle service on his way to the airport from a long-term parking facility. During the trip, the driver became distracted by a company-provided tablet, which he was using to determine the location of his next pick-up stop. While using the tablet, the driver crashed into the vehicle in front of him a high speed. The Plaintiff, as well as several other occupants of the van, suffered serious injuries in the accident. It was alleged that the van was not being operated in accordance with airport management industry standards and best practices, and that the driver should not have had access to the tablet while driving.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please explain your qualifications to review this case.
- 2. Have you ever set protocols to prevent an outcome like the one described in the case summary
Expert Witness Response E-031501
It is incomprehensible to me that any company that offers vehicles with drivers would authorize their drivers to have tablets or cell phones on their person or even turned on anytime their vehicles are in motion. Their drivers absolutely must have their complete focus and concentration on the road in front of them. The shuttle bus company involved should have been given a detailed itinerary from the client and then mapped that out so thoroughly for the driver in advance that using a GPS device would not cause a distraction and lead to a crash with injuries. The driver having any gadgets while moving shows that the shuttle bus company needs to retrain their drivers regarding best practices and avoiding distractions. As an independent rep for and large volume buyer from over 40 ground transportation providers that move groups of people with drivers and all their affiliates around the world, I have been placing my clients with suppliers that I have sifted through my extremely rigorous screening process for the last 14 years in my own business and 27 in the industry. I am a published author of one book on commercial fleet management, and I have been writing extensively for the last five years regarding the best practices for groups hiring ground transportation.
Expert Witness Response E-031534
I spent nearly 29 years with my state’s Department of Public Safety in the Highway Patrol Division. Including 21 years in the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, which involves enforcement on commercial vehicles including passenger vehicles such as airport shuttles. Protocols are set via federal motor carrier safety regulations, which states that drivers of commercial motor vehicles are not allowed to use cell phones or other devices unless they are hands free. Additionally, they are not allowed to text, as this causes similar distractions. I have served as an instructor for the USDOT and have trained police officers in commercial vehicle regulation.