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Tort; automobile collision, pleadings. Before Judge Paschall. Gordon Superior Court. February 17, 1956.
The petition alleged a good cause of action as against a general demurrer; therefore the court did not err in overruling the general demurrer of the defendant Associated Transports, Inc.
Tatum Greeson sued Associated Transports, Inc., Tobe Holland, and Fred Orvin Holland for damages allegedly caused by the defendant's negligence. The negligence of the defendant Tobe Holland is predicated on the "family-purpose" doctrine, and a discussion of this negligence is not necessary to a disposition of this case. The petition alleged in substance: On March 27, 1954, at about 3:50 o'clock, p. m., the plaintiff was riding as a guest passenger in the front seat of an automobile being driven by the defendant Fred Orvin Holland along U. S. Highway No. 41 at a point about three-tenths of a mile from the City of Calhoun; at said time and place the highway was wet; at all times alleged the plaintiff was a guest passenger in said automobile and had no control over the operation of same; at said time and place the defendant Fred Holland was driving the automobile at a speed of from 65 to 75 miles per hour; the lawful speed applicable at said location was 35 miles per hour; a Ford truck owned by the defendant Associated Transports, Inc., was being driven by one of its servants along said highway approximately 200 feet in front of the automobile being driven by Holland; suddenly and without any advance warning, the driver of the truck applied brakes, violently stopping the truck in front of the speeding automobile in which the plaintiff was riding as a guest passenger; the truck was equipped with a large rear view mirror and the driver thereof failed to make himself acquainted with the fact that Holland's automobile was speeding toward the back end of said truck while he was suddenly stopping the truck; the defendant Holland failed to apply his brakes as soon as the truck began its sudden stop, but waited until he was approximately 100 feet from the truck before applying the brakes of the automobile, and drove the automobile into the rear end of the truck, throwing the plaintiff forward into the dashboard and windshield of the automobile and causing the plaintiff enumerated injuries. The defendant Holland was guilty of the following specified acts of gross negligence: in driving the automobile on a highway at a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the conditions, having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, in violation of Code 68-1626; in failing to so control the speed of the automobile to the extent necessary to avoid colliding with the truck; in driving at a speed in excess of 60 miles per hour in violation of Code 68-1626 (b) 2; in following the truck more closely than was reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the conditions of the highway, in violation of Code 68-1641; in failing to apply the brakes of the automobile in time to avoid striking the truck; in failing to keep a lookout ahead to avoid striking the truck. The defendant Associated Transports, Inc., was negligent in the following particulars: In stopping the truck without first giving an appropriate signal to the driver of the vehicle immediately to the rear of said truck, in violation of Code 68-1647 (c); in bringing said truck to a sudden and violent stop at said time and place without advance warning; in failing to anticipate that the defendant Holland would violate the law when it was itself violating the law; in failing to move said truck out of the way of the oncoming automobile so as to avoid the collision, although it was either actually aware or could have by the slightest degree of care made itself aware of the conduct of the defendant Holland by the use of the rear view mirror on its truck. The aforesaid acts of negligence on the part of the defendants were concurrent and were the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries.
The general demurrer of the defendant Associated Transports, Inc. was overruled, and it excepts.
Blum, 80 Ga. App. 618 (57 S. E. 2d 18). It can not be said as a matter of law that the sudden and "violent" stopping of the truck without the giving of proper signals was not negligence, or that such did not combine naturally and directly with the negligence of the host driver to produce the injuries sued for. See A. C. L. R. Co. v. Coxwell, supra, (2). Whether, under the circumstances, the failure to give a signal amounts to common-law negligence, and whether, if such amounts to negligence, that negligence combined with that of the host driver to produce the injuries, are, in this case, questions which must be resolved by a jury. The plaintiff in error contends that he petition shows that the host driver saw the truck stopping when the automobile was 200 feet to the rear of the truck, but that the host driver did not attempt to stop until he was within 100 feet of the rear of the truck. The petition is not subject to such a construction.
The petition alleged a cause of action against the defendant Associated Transports, Inc.; therefore the court did not err in overruling the general demurrer.
Judgment affirmed. Quillian and Nichols, JJ., concur.
James B. Langford, Matthews, Maddox, Walton & Smith, Hardin & McCamy, contra.
Pittman, Kinney & Pope, for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED JUNE 11, 1956.
Saturday May 23 02:14 EDT

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