When 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.
To make their living, truckers need to be on the road, hauling product from one place to another. Stopping and resting or taking time off does not help a trucker’s bottom line and therefore it can be tempting for a truck driver to operate long, grueling days and weeks with minimal rest. To combat this, federal regulators have passed several laws that limit a trucker’s ability to drive continuously so that these truckers can get the breaks they need to refresh themselves and stay alert while behind the wheel. Truck drivers must log their hours in accordance with these laws and must abide by them at all times.
For example, a trucker can only start a new work shift after at least 10 consecutive hours off of work from a prior shift and that trucker cannot operate for more than 14 consecutive hours. But in those 14 consecutive hours, a driver can only drive for 11 hours or less, meaning that some of the time must be spent on breaks or engaging in other activities. There are many other rules that come into play as drivers operate for longer periods of time or operate for many days in a row including a minimum 34 hour consecutive break if the driver has been working for 70 hours over an eight day period with those break hours including two periods of time between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The rules get very complex but for the purposes of a typical driver, it is helpful to know that a trucker can work a maximum of 70 hours over five days in one week.
When a truck driver and/or that truck driver’s employer fails to obey these national laws or otherwise tries to skirt these requirements, fines and other penalties may be assessed in the name of safety, and with good reason. National studies continue to show that fatigued and drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving in certain situations.
But when a truck driver causes an accident because of his tiredness, a simple fine will not right the wrong that was done to the victims involved. Instead, those victims may be entitled to seek financial compensation for their injuries if the crash happened in the Phoenix area and a claim may entitle them to payment for the harm they sustained. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and options if a crash has affected your life or has taken someone that you love.
Following a typical collision, a victim may be able to recover for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, permanency of harm, and any other injuries that stem from the collision. In the tragic instance that a victim loses her life, that victim’s surviving family members may be able to recover for their suffering, though no amount of compensation can ever be considered adequate in those case.
If you have questions about a trucking accident in the Phoenix area, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 where one of our attorneys will be standing by 24 hours a day to take your call. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who call us and if we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Prior Blog Entry:
1 in 25 Patients get Hospital-Acquired Infections, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 23, 2015.