Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

13116(2)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.

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21716(2)Traffic accidents happen in Arizona, and unfortunately, they happen far too frequently. In fact, in 2015, 116,609 traffic crashes happened in our state which averages out to more than 300 collision each day of the year. Any of these incidents can be dangerous but some of the greatest harm comes when a truck accident takes place, especially if the crash involves a smaller vehicle as well or an unprotected victim like a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist.

Truck accidents are more likely than car accidents to result in fatalities in part due to the large size and weight of a truck. Trucks have a lot of inertia and are difficult to slow or stop, leading them to continue on their path of travel after an initial striking incident. If a smaller vehicle is in the path of a truck, that vehicle may be crushed or even run over by the truck, potentially leading to catastrophic results for anyone inside the car.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety monitors statistics related to truck accidents and concluded that 3,660 people were killed in truck crashes in the United States in 2014. But not all people involved in these incidents fared a similar risk of death. In fact, 83 percent of fatalities associated with large truck collisions befell those outside of a large truck whether they were inside another vehicle or not.

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92515They are so common that you probably did not even notice them when you were driving to work today: trucks. Large trucks, small trucks, semi-trucks, box trucks, and all trucks in between travel on and over the roads of Arizona every day, moving things like fuel, electronics, and groceries from their source locations to their destinations so that life in Phoenix continues to move without skipping a beat.

Trucks are literally everywhere and serve a very vital function in our society, but that does not mean that they offer only positives. Rather, the drawbacks associated with the trucking industry can be extreme and truck accidents alone are responsible for hundreds of thousands of injuries annually and thousands of fatalities.

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22616To be compliant with federal laws, several types of commercial drivers – including those who operate semi-trucks and many who drive large buses – must keep a log of the hours they drive. This paper document serves as evidence with regard to the compliance of a driver related to mandatory rest times after that driver has been operating for a specified number of hours in a row. The idea is that the logs will keep drivers honest about when they drive, when they rest, and the overall progression of any trip.

Yet for some time, issues related to the falsification of driving logs or the alteration of records have existed, leading many to question what could be done to avoid these issues related to dishonesty. In many situations, log books that were alleged to have been altered were believed to have been changed after a truck accident took place so that the driver appeared to be compliant with federal safety rules even if that driver was, in fact, in violation of them. Many argued for the mandatory use of electronic monitoring devices of some type which would automatically track a truck’s movements without a driver’s ability to control or alter the results.

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21716(2)There is a natural fear among a subset of drivers when they come across the path of a large semi-truck. Some are filled with dread or even experience anxiety by merely driving near a truck, passing a truck, or having a truck operate in an adjacent lane. When asked about these concerns, drivers regularly say that the large size and weight of a semi-truck makes them realize they are at an increased risk for harm when a collision occurs in the Phoenix area and therefore trucks make them nervous.

This belief is understandable, particularly when you realize that national data supports the fact that drivers and passengers in traditional cars face the brunt of the risk of harm during a truck accident.

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102115%282%29.jpgThere are many issues that come into play when discussing truck traffic in the Arizona area, and chief among those issues are the safety concerns presented to other vehicles near a truck. When a standard passenger car and a semi-truck hauling a trailer are compared, the differences in size, weight, and force between the vehicles are stunning and enough to make any driver realize that there could be problems if the two vehicles collided.

Yet truck accidents happen every day and many of them involve smaller vehicles, making the threat of a crash a reality to thousands of people every year. The reasons behind a truck accident can be similar to those that cause collisions among cars but the results of a truck crash are usually more extreme, more likely to cause injuries, and more likely to cause death to those involved, making truck accidents a priority when it comes to understanding traffic issues and safety in Phoenix.
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92515.jpgWhen it comes to understanding traffic accidents in the Phoenix area, the role played by commercial trucks can be deceiving. While these vehicles are less likely to be involved in an accident per mile traveled than are typical passenger cars, the collisions that do occur are much more likely to result in injuries or even death to those involved. This can spell disaster for those innocent victims of truck accidents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and who are forced to endure suffering as the result of a crash.

Truck drivers are required to undergo specific training and receive tailored licensing so that they can operate their rigs in a safe, reasonable manner. Most drivers receive the education they need and therefore, lack of training is not a common reason that truck accidents take place but one of the most frequently cited actions among truckers that lead to and resulted in collisions continues to be truck driver fatigue, a factor that crops up each and every day in the United States.
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5222615.jpgLarge vehicles, including trucks, semis, and 18-wheelers, are a necessary part of life in the Phoenix area. They provide not only jobs to countless residents but also the means necessary to keep things going in the area. From bringing in food and products to shipping across the nation, trucks play a vital role in the local economy.

While much about the trucking industry is positive, there are negatives that affect those who reside in or work in Phoenix as well. One of the more dangerous negatives is the risk for truck accidents and for the harm that might result if a truck accident occurs. While collisions with trucks are not as common as collisions involving only cars, the resulting damage tends to be much more severe and is more likely to cause injuries to the drivers and passengers involved.
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62315.jpgAny type of traffic accident poses many risks to those who are involved, but when it comes to the damages that result, some crashes are more likely to cause devastation than others. Among the most serious collisions are truck accidents and semi-truck crashes regardless of whether they occur in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, or elsewhere in the Valley.

A typical passenger car is not designed or built to withstand the forces that are involved in a truck accident and any attempt to do so likely will result in substantial damage to the vehicle. When a vehicle is damaged and especially when portions of it crumple on impact, those inside the vehicle are likely to sustain injuries. Though common injuries include whiplash, fractured bones, herniated and damaged spinal discs, and head injuries, nearly any type of trauma-related harm can befall those unlucky enough to be involved in a collision with a truck.
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006.jpg On June 7, 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan rode in a vehicle with several other friends and comedians as it traveled on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan was in a bus when the bus was involved in a six-vehicle collision that was allegedly started by a semi-truck which was owned and operated by Wal-Mart. As a result of the truck accident, several people were seriously injured and one man lost his life.

Now, according to court documents, Wal-Mart has settled a portion of the claim brought by the family of the man who lost his life to the tune of $10 million.

The victims involved who were with Morgan in the bus brought claims for their injuries and alleged that the driver of the Wal-Mart semi-truck had not slept in more than 24 hours and that he fell asleep while behind the wheel, causing the collision that left them damaged. The victims further claimed that Wal-Mart, as the driver’s employer and the owner of the truck at issue, knew or should have known of the driver’s condition and that their failure to take action was negligent.

The crash left Morgan, best known for his acting on the TV shows “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” with a broken leg, broken nose, and several broken ribs as well as a traumatic brain injury. Morgan’s leg was particularly damaged and required surgical repair as well as rehabilitative treatment that the comedian is still undergoing at this time. In addition to Morgan, two other comedians and two bus employees were injured. A third comedian, James McNair, was killed in the crash.

The surviving family members of James McNair brought suit alleging wrongful death and made a claim against the semi driver and Wal-Mart. In January of 2015, the family’s attorney announced that a settlement had been reached with Wal-Mart but that the amount was confidential. Recent court documents disclosed the amount as $10 million, a settlement that will go to McNair’s family members to compensate them for their losses, though no amount of money can ever be considered adequate when a person is killed.

The recently disclosed settlement reflects an agreement to end the claim by the family of James McNair only and does not terminate the claims made by Morgan or the other individuals harmed in the accident.
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