Summer is approaching, and for those of us living in Arizona, that often means it’s time for family road trips. While the trips are fun, they also require sharing the road with large trucks. Even in the best of circumstances, that can be dangerous.
People often think that sleepy, drunk, and otherwise distracted truck drivers cause the vast majority of truck accidents. They do cause quite a few of them, but failure to yield, unsafe lane changes, and back-up accidents are often to blame.
Sometimes, these incidents are the result of a distracted or fatigued driver, or a driver who isn’t following the rules of the road. Many times, though, these accidents are linked to a truck’s blind spots: areas around the truck with little-to-no visibility.
When you are in a collision with a tractor-trailer or a delivery truck, the driver and the trucking company may bear liability for your injuries and losses. This is true even if you believe the crash was a “true” accident.
How the trucking industry fails to keep us safe
Semi trucks are big: per the Truckers Report, their cabs can stand more than 13’ tall, and the average trailer run up to 80 feet (trailer and cab combined). The added height of the cab allows drivers to see farther up the road, but it does not help them see what is right in front of them. This, combined with the greater stopping time needed, makes collisions all the more likely.
When a truck driver fails to yield, or fails to give him or herself enough stopping time, you can be seriously injured in a rear-end crash. To avoid these scenarios (and others like them), some trucks are equipped with safety tools that can help them avoid a collision:
- Lane assist technology
- Back-up cameras
- Forward-looking cameras
- Built-in Bluetooth for phone calls
- Brake assist
- Back-up mirrors (those little “bubbles” you see on tractor-trailer side mirrors)
It is the trucking company’s responsibility to ensure that its fleet is well-maintained, and that any and all technologies are up-to-date and working. If those technologies fail, the trucking company may also be held liable for your injuries. If it fails because of a defect in the tech itself, then the manufacturer may also be held accountable.
One of the more frustrating issues regarding safety technology is that there are older models out there which are not equipped with the tech, despite the fact that they have been available for years. While UPS tractor-trailers may all have collision-avoidance technology, not all companies have adopted this measure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been conducting tests for years, but has been slow to implement any new regulation. The choice to equip trucks with safety technology, then, has been left to the trucking companies – and not all of them are willing to spend the time and money to implement the changes.
How do you share the roads with big trucks safely?
The primary cause of trucking accidents is still driver error. In order to share the roads with big trucks safely, we need to use our common sense, too. We need to keep our eyes on the road, our hands on the wheel, and pay attention to our surroundings. Remember that your vehicle is more maneuverable than big trucks are, and it is in your best interest to stay as far away from them as possible. A good rule of thumb is to keep the truck’s mirrors in site at all times: if you can see the big rig’s mirrors, an attentive truck driver can likely see you, too.
If you are injured in a truck accident in Arizona, seek medical attention and then contact an attorney. Do not admit fault, or sign any paperwork without having your lawyer review it first. For the help you need and the practical advice you deserve, call Plattner Verderame, P.C. in Phoenix: 602-266-2002. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case.