Tucson Truck Accident Lawyers
There’s no doubt about it: the highways that run through Tucson are some of the deadliest in the country.
I-10, which runs through southern Arizona and connects Tucson and Phoenix, ranked 18th on the list of America’s 100 Deadliest Highways, based on accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. I-19, while being one of the shortest highways in the country, is also one of the most dangerous, ranking 38th on the same list.
These statistics don’t come as a surprise to Arizonans, who are familiar with how often these highways are closed for hours on end due to a serious motor vehicle accident. And they’re also not surprised to learn just how often these accidents were due to large commercial trucks.
When tractor-trailers crash, it’s typically the drivers and passengers of other vehicles who suffer the most severe injuries, if not death.
There are a number of reasons why semi-trucks pose such a threat to other drivers, and why they can cause such a great deal of damage and injury when they’re in an accident. The two biggest risks are:
- A truck’s weight. Transport trucks typically weigh about 80,000 pounds or more, while passenger vehicles are only a fraction of that – 3,000 pounds on average. This weight doesn’t just make trucks more difficult to manage, maneuver, slow, and stop; it also causes more significant damage in collisions.
- A truck’s freight. In a best-case scenario, trucks are empty when they get into an accident with another vehicle, or they’re filled with non-hazardous cargo such as fruit or clothing. But often, these trucks do carry hazardous materials such as gas, oil, or other flammable substances. When these materials are put under pressure or make forceful impact during an accident, they can explode and cause serious injuries like respiratory problems or serious burns.
While hazardous items likely won’t cause an accident, the truck’s weight may. This is because the weight makes it harder for trucks to stop or slow down quickly, leaving other drivers in front of them or behind them at risk of crashing into them - or getting crashed into. But that’s just one of the causes of truck accidents on Tucson highways.
Here are some of the most common situations that occur during bad weather that can lead to serious accidents with big rigs and other types of commercial trucks:
- Another motorist cuts off the truck driver who needs excessive stopping time on wet surfaces and hydroplanes, causing a severe rear-end accident
- The truck driver loses control in the bad weather because he cannot see or cannot keep the truck driving steady and either jackknifes or overturns
- Strong winds blow into the semi truck forcing it into another lane of traffic
- Truck driver falls asleep at the wheel
- Truck driver is unable to see in front of his vehicle and rear ends vehicle in front of his
- Truck driver changes lanes and in his blind spot is a vehicle that he would have otherwise seen
What Drivers Can Do to Prevent Trucking Collisions
Although bad weather can certainly exacerbate the effects of any trucking accident, many of these collisions are still preventable if truck drivers take proper precautions. Here are some of the best ways that truck drivers can protect themselves and other drivers on the road during bad weather conditions:
- If you feel your semi truck wobbling in the wind or being pushed into another lane, you should pull off the side of the road and away from traffic to wait out the winds.
- Slow down and remember that you will always need significantly more time than a car to reduce your speed.
- Don't drive when you can't see what's going on in front of you.
- Get plenty of sleep so you are not driving in excess of federal laws and statutes.
While state-based scenarios surrounding truck collisions can vary greatly, the causes are often similar simply because all truck drivers face the same situations. And while Tucson lawmakers continue to try and prevent crashes, these are still the most common causes of truck crashes in Tucson:
- Truck driver fatigue. Truck drivers put in long hours on the road and fatigue can quickly take over. When it does, it can slow truckers’ reaction time and prevent them from seeing things on the road, or realizing when they need to slow down.
- Improper truck maintenance. Big rig accidents aren’t always the fault of the truck driver. Sometimes the load was improperly secured, or the truck manufacturer made a flaw in the design of the truck, causing equipment to fail while on the road. That equipment could cause the truck to crash, or fly off the truck and strike another vehicle.
- Speeding. Speeding is a common cause of all accidents and that holds true for truck accidents, too. Speeding is particularly dangerous for truck drivers because it takes even longer for the truck to slow down and stop.
- Distracted driving. Arizona, like most other states, has made it illegal to be on a phone while driving, whether the driver is texting or talking. Truck drivers are bound by these same laws, but unfortunately, there have not yet been any laws made about talking on a CB radio. While these radios don’t need to be dialed the same way a phone does, they can still distract truck drivers, and that’s a major risk to other drivers.
- Not knowing the roads. This can be a major problem with truck drivers, particularly when they are driving through Tucson to get to Phoenix and have never driven the route before. Being unfamiliar with the roads can cause big rig drivers to brake suddenly, slow down to check out exit signs, or look at a map or navigational system and pay less attention to what’s going on outside the cab.
Almost always, in a truck-related crash, the fault belongs to the truck driver or trucking company. When that is the case, victims may be able to seek compensation if they’ve been injured or lost a loved one.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a big rig while traveling on Tucson’s highways, contact The Husband & Wife Law Team, at (520) 624-4228. We know the risks that truck drivers pose to other drivers and we want to make sure they’re held responsible when they’re at fault for an accident. Call our Tucson car accident attorneys and find out if we can get you the compensation you need to recover.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer