If you are like the average Phoenix resident, you take to the roads every day to get around the Valley, whether you go to work, take kids to school, or just run errands. Even if you do not personally drive, you may utilize the roadways in a car pool, as a passenger in a vehicle, on a public or private bus, or even while walking. No matter what you do and how you do it, odds are that the roadways, freeways, and interstates play a significant role in your daily life.
But you are not the only one that uses these public roads. Additionally, large trucks, semi-trucks, and big rigs can be found on Arizona roads each and every day of the year. Though the drivers of these vehicles must undergo special training and be specially licensed, they are not perfect drivers and they are to blame in numerous truck accidents annually. These crashes not only inconvenience those that are involved but tragically cause some victims to be injured and others to lose their lives, damages that cannot be undone and cannot be righted, not matter what post-accident actions are taken.
Unfortunately, national data reveals that deaths due to truck accidents have been increasing in recent years, leading many to ask what can be done to reverse this trend.
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted 3,781 fatal large truck accidents in the country, where large trucks were defined as vehicles with a gross weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds. The next year, there were 3,921 fatal collisions. In 2013, 3,964 people lost their lives in truck accidents. No one is safe from the threat of a truck accident as the 2013 numbers revealed that 71 percent of those who lost their lives were in vehicles other than a large truck, 17 percent of victims were inside a large truck, and 11 percent of victims were not in a vehicle at the time of a crash.
Preventing these truck accidents can be difficult because thousands of factors can, and often do, lead to an impact. However, there are several general safety tips that experts agree can reduce the vast majority of collisions and keep Americans as safe as possible.
Truck drivers should focus on their conduct behind the wheel and understand that their actions will either cause or avoid many accidents. Truckers should always follow the rules of the road as they apply in the locality where they operate, including the Phoenix area. Truck drivers should obey the speed limit, check surrounding traffic before changing lanes, and should allow other vehicles to merge where appropriate. Further, truck drivers should never drink and drive and should never engage in road rage or aggressive driving behaviors. Finally, a poorly running big rig can be a danger regardless of who is behind the wheel so all large trucks should be serviced regularly, tires should be checked and replaced when needed, and any damage to a rig should be repaired immediately.
Drivers of small passenger cars also play a role when it comes to truck accidents and the safety on public roadways. These drivers should realize that trucks need a greater distance to start up, slow down, and stop than a typical car and drivers of cars should understand and respect that. If you are operating your vehicle near a truck, give the truck plenty of space on all sides to run. Do not cut off a truck or tailgate one as a truck driver’s limited view may prevent her from noticing your vehicle, increasing the odds of a collision taking place. Further, respect the space that a truck needs when turning and do not try to race to beat a truck at a stop sign or a traffic light.
Trucking accidents, whether they occur in Phoenix, elsewhere in Arizona, or even in another state, are often much more complex than they appear. Multiple parties may be involved and there may be local, state, and federal laws at play in determining liability for a crash. In a large number of incidents, victims are led to mistakenly believe that an insurance company will respect their rights and will treat them fairly since these victims did nothing to cause the harm; however, the reality is often very far from that hope. If a collision left you injured or harmed someone you love, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney to make sure you are protected and that you will receive the assistance you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Why the Seat Position in a Car Matters for Your Child’s Safety, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 10, 2016.