If you drive a vehicle on the Arizona roadways, you may find it intimidating to share the road with a truck. You often have good reason to feel intimidated. Because of the size and weight of a truck, accidents that involve these big rigs often cause serious injuries and even death.
In the United States, 500,000 truck-related accidents occur every year. Of these accidents, 4,889 of them resulted in fatalities in the year 2017. Some of the most common places for fatal truck accidents are rural areas, highways, and the interstate. Between the years 2009 and 2015, the number of truck accidents that resulted in injuries increased by 62 percent.
Some of the most common truck-related accident injuries include head injuries, broken bones, burns, amputations, disfigurements, lacerations, and injuries to the internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, and bladder. Spinal cord injuries, some of which lead to paralysis, also commonly occur in truck accidents.
Truck Accident Causes
Many causes exist for truck accidents. Some truck accidents occur because the driver’s cargo is not loaded properly. Other truck accidents take place because the driver doesn’t have the proper training. Learn about some other common causes of truck accidents.
Truck drivers often have unrealistic schedules, which causes them to spend too much time on the road and not enough time sleeping. Not getting enough sleep results in driver fatigue or drowsy driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving caused 72,000 crashes in one year. Not all of these crashes involved trucks, but commercial drivers are among those who are most likely to drive drowsy.
One reason truck drivers don’t pay attention to their driving is they are bored. This boredom causes them to eat, fiddle with the radio, and look at the scenery around them instead of the road. Distracted driving also involves the use of a mobile device.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines distracted driving as holding, reaching for, dialing, texting, or reading a mobile device. Even though the FMCSA has made talking and texting on a mobile device illegal for drivers of commercial vehicles, some truck drivers still do it.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure. Many of them drive 70 hours during an 8-hour stretch. The fact they get paid by the mile puts added pressure on them. Some truckers put on 125,000 miles a year, which is about 2,500 miles a week. To help handle the pressure, drivers can turn to alcohol or drugs.
The most commonly used drugs are cocaine and amphetamines, which helps them stay awake. Besides failing their drug test, about 12.5 percent of all American truck drivers have tested positive for alcohol. This means the United States has the highest frequency in the world for alcohol-positive tests.
Truck Accident Prevention
It may seem like you can’t do anything to avoid getting into a truck-related accident. After all, you aren’t able to control how safely the truck driver operates their vehicle. However, you can do some things to reduce your chances of getting into a truck accident. One of the best ways to do this is to drive defensively at all times.
When driving around trucks, this means you should always do the following:
Allow plenty of space when following behind a truck.
Never cut in front of a truck — instead, leave a lot of space when passing them.
Look for the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors. This means you stay out of their blind spot.
Allow a truck plenty of room at an intersection when the driver makes a turn.
Don’t ever speed up when a truck tries to pass you; instead, let the truck driver get in front of you, even if you don’t want them too.
If you need to pass a truck, do so quickly without lingering in the lane beside it.
Always use your turning signals so that the truck driver knows what you are doing.
If you see a truck that is all over the road, goes too slowly, or is too fast, or the trucker drives recklessly in any other way, you should call the authorities. The driver might be distracted, is falling asleep at the wheel, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You should also call the authorities if you spot an aggressive truck driver. An aggressive truck driver often cuts off other drivers, uses obscene gestures, blasts their horn, or repeatedly brakes and accelerates.
If you had the unfortunate event of getting into a truck-related accident, contact Garrison Law Firm. Our trucking accident law firm understands trucking accident law, which will help you get the compensation that you deserve. Garrison Law Firm has been in business since 1994, and we get great satisfaction in helping residents of Glendale, Arizona and the surrounding area.