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Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

An early-morning New Mexico truck accident that occurred last month on Interstate 40 between the border of Arizona and New Mexico resulted in a single fatality and several serious injuries. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision was caused when a truck driver, heading from Arizona toward Albuquerque on I-40, crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.

As the truck entered oncoming traffic, the vehicle rolled. The initial accident caused a chain-reaction, ultimately involving at least three other vehicles.

Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries

Recently, a news report provided an update on a devastating Phoenix car accident between a truck and a sedan carrying a couple and their daughter. The couple was waiting to make a left turn after picking up their daughter from a relative’s home. The child was in a child-safety seat in between the parents in the front seat. When the light turned yellow, and traffic began to wane, the man started to make his turn. The man’s girlfriend screamed when she looked up from her phone and noticed a truck barreling towards them. The driver did not have time to stop, and the truck collided into their vehicle.

The couple and their child were all taken to a local hospital, and the woman and her daughter remained unconscious for several days. After the woman awoke from her coma, she discovered that her daughter was at a different hospital and remained in a medically induced coma. Fortunately, tests revealed that the daughter did not suffer any permanent brain damage; however, she remained in a sedative state as her cerebral cortex healed. Despite support from their family and the community, the family is facing a long road of psychological and physical therapy. The woman revealed that although she is grateful for the medical benefits her employer provides, the family is facing astronomical medical bills.

Many accident victims rely on medical insurance and car insurance coverage to help them pay the significant medical costs often associated with serious car accidents. Car accident victims may face payments related to emergency treatment, vehicle storage or repair, surgeries, hospital stays, physical rehabilitation, prescription and copays, psychological treatment, and lost wages.

Being involved in an accident with a semi-truck or other large vehicle can feel like a nightmare to accident victims and their families. Not only are Arizona truck accidents more likely to cause serious injury or death than other auto accidents, but navigating the complex web of parties and companies who may be responsible for damages can be a daunting task, especially when the truck driver does not admit fault for the crash. A recently published local news article helps explain what is necessary for victims of an Arizona truck accident to compile to help pursue their case.

As noted in the report, there are at least ten pieces of information that should be gathered after an accident to help an accident victim pursue an Arizona semi-truck accident lawsuit. Because of the complexities of the trucking and insurance industries, there could be four or more parties that must be dealt with in the aftermath of an accident, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the shipping company, and any insurance companies offering coverage on the truck or other vehicles involved in a crash.

Immediately after an accident involving a semi-truck, the important information to gather includes the names and identities of all parties and companies with vehicles involved in the crash as well as the insurance information for any vehicles involved. Law enforcement should be called to document the crash and create a case number that can be used in a later claim. Additionally, accident victims should obtain a photograph of the license plate of the truck involved, as well as photos or videos of any damage to all vehicles, any skid marks or debris, as well as documentation of other hazards or factors that could have contributed to the crash. Any eyewitness accounts of the crash should be taken, along with the names and contact information of the witnesses, should their testimony be required at a later time.

Semi-trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Arizona truck crashes are among the deadliest type of traffic accidents. Indeed, semi-truck accidents are responsible for a disproportionate number of Arizona traffic deaths. According to the most recent government data, while crashes involving tractor-trailers represent less than one percent of the total number of accidents, they are responsible for nearly five percent of the total number of fatalities.

There are several common causes of Arizona 18-wheeler accidents, including:

  • Distracted driving – Truck drivers all have radios, and many who spend countless hours on the road will frequently install televisions in the cab. While this may help pass the time, it also increases the risk of a distracted driving accident.
  • Intoxicated driving – In an effort to fight off fatigue or boredom, some truck drivers take illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter medications, any of which can adversely affect their judgment and ability to operate the truck safely.
  • Drowsy driving – Truck drivers spend long hours on the road, and often find themselves fighting off fatigue. Rather than pull over and rest, truckers too often push their bodies and minds past the limit of what is considered safe.
  • Equipment failure – Whether it be a blown tire, faulty brakes, or a burnt-out headlight, equipment failures are a common cause of Arizona truck accidents.

Like all motorists, truck drivers owe a duty of care to those with whom they share the road. This duty requires truckers to obey all traffic laws and posted traffic signs. While there is generally no legal duty to do so, drivers should take the necessary precautions when driving around semi-truck to avoid an accident. A few tips to keep in mind when sharing the road with large commercial vehicles are:

  • Stay out of the blind spot – Large trucks have blind spots on all sides of the vehicle, but most notably on both sides. Motorists should assume that a truck driver cannot see them unless the motorist can see the truck’s side-view mirrors.
  • Use care when passing – When passing a semi-truck, motorists should signal well in advance and give the truck ample room when returning to the lane.
  • Leave room – Large trucks can take up to several football fields to come to a complete stop, and a truck driver may need to make an evasive maneuver to avoid an accident.

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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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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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They 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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To 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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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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There 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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