Truck drivers often dominate the freeways in and around Phoenix. We all know that they’re bigger than we are and that they can’t stop quickly, so most of us give truckers plenty of space and get out of the way if they’re bearing down on us. It also means that trucker safety is important to everyone on the roads.
However, many accidents on I-10 and I-17 involve big trucks—and that leads us to wonder why. What is it that’s causing these accidents (some of them fatal) and what can we do about it? Is it our driving, or is it trucker safety regulations?
The injury attorneys at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you have significant experience in helping clients who have been in a trucking accident due to not following trucker safety regulations. Our offices are conveniently located in nearby Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person at our nearby offices, over the phone, or video call. You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.
By the way, we will also help with other problems that have cost you sleep, like getting a rental car very soon and finding a nearby doctor who can help you. Even the best legal team isn’t good enough if your quality of life isn’t sustainable while justice and compensation are on the way. The whole point of legal action is to regain quality of life, so we help you long-term as attorneys and short-term as your go-to people. Our familiarity with the local Phoenix courts makes us confident that we can help you get the best settlement possible.
Trucker Safety Regulations: Who’s Watching Truck Drivers?
Federal law says that, both for trucker safety and public safety, truck drivers have to get a certain amount of rest before they drive, and they’re not allowed to drive more than 11 hours per day. While trucking companies are responsible for tracking the number of hours their drivers spend behind the wheel, like with any law, you can expect some people to break it.
There are also other federal trucker safety regulations that require truck drivers to have 10 consecutive hours off before they’re allowed to drive. That means back-to-back shifts aren’t allowed. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break when they’re on the road. These federal laws are designed to prevent truckers from falling asleep behind the wheel or “zoning out.” Both of those things put other motorists—you and me—at risk on the roads.
Maintenance on Trucks vs. Profits
For most companies, the biggest concern is simple: money. They’re interested in spending less and making more. Sure, that’s understandable; everyone who’s in business tries to get ahead. However, problems are inevitable when a company puts profits over safety, as was the case when a Mexican tour bus in California killed eight people because none of its brakes worked. The company had been cited multiple times for blatant safety violations, but they continued to operate, putting everyone on the road at serious risk.
Maintenance is expensive. We all get that. But you can’t put a price tag on safety, and some trucking companies genuinely don’t care. Yes, there are good companies with stellar safety records, but it only takes one mistake to cost someone dearly.
What Causes Trucking Accidents?
The reality is that most trucking accidents are caused by either a purposeful or accidental breaking of trucker safety regulation. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Driver Fatigue: Driving a truck is a very high stress job with long hours and not much room for errors. Often, companies will require drivers to deliver goods in a very short period of time, which means that truck drivers drive extremely long distances on very little sleep, with limited breaks for rest, despite trucker safety regulations. This all means that many truck drivers are exhausted, which reduces reaction time and can lead to accidents.
- Distracted Driving: Because truckers drive such long distances, they might search for entertainment, especially when radio may not be the best. This may tempt many drivers to text, turn on a podcast, or otherwise look away from the road. Additionally, since many drivers don’t take breaks against trucker safety regulations, the simple act of eating may cause them to take their eyes off the road and lose concentration.
- Driving Under the Influence: While you may not think that trucking has a high rate of alcohol and other substance abuse, it does. Drivers may use stimulants such as amphetamines or cocaine. A recent study from Reuters showed that 30% of truck drivers admitted to taking amphetamines while on the clock. An additionally 20% used marijuana, and 3% used cocaine. These drugs may help drivers stay awake, but they also reduce reaction time and lead to more risky or aggressive driving.
- Speeding: Sometimes, the unfortunate reality is that truck drivers may not make their deliveries on time. If the driver thinks that they will lose their job, or get a decrease in pay, if their delivery doesn’t make it on time, they will be more likely to speed even if it goes against trucker safety regulations. This causes problems not only for when the driver may not have enough distance between them and the front car, but also if the front car swerves to move out of the way into another lane.
- Poor Training: Although companies have training programs for truckers, including trucker safety regulation training, sometimes those programs aren’t followed. In the event of poor weather, such as rain, sleet, snow, or wind, the truck driver must be extra careful to go slower than the posted speed limit to avoid hydroplaning or skidding. If the driver isn’t trained for these weather conditions, they will likely cause an accident.
- Maintenance: It’s routine for trucking companies to require that each truck is inspected before it goes out on the road. However, due to time cuts, expenses, or other reasons, this doesn’t always happen, although regular maintenance is part of trucker safety regulations. If a part breaks down in the middle of the drive, it can lead to accidents.
- Cargo: You might be wondering “What does cargo have to do with me?” In an ideal situation, it has nothing to do with you. However, cargo that is too heavy or improperly packed according to trucker safety regulations can cause a multitude of accidents. Not only can it spill out the back if the door is not latched correctly, it can also cause an imbalance of weight, which could lead to the truck tipping over or being unable to go up steep inclines. Any way you put it, if something is wrong with the cargo, it can lead to catastrophic accidents.
For More Information
At Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you, we have more than 15 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their personal injuries, including those from trucking accidents in the Phoenix area. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office, conveniently located near you.
If you have been in a trucking accident because of a lack of trucker safety, contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in nearby Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.