Who Is Responsible for Truck Accidents Caused by Blind Spots?
We hear about it all the time. A driver forgot to check their blind spot and accidentally merged into a lane right where another car was traveling. It probably caused some damage, but it luckily may not have been much worse than that. Even though an accident like this happens often, it does not make them any less scary—especially when high rates of speed are involved.
Now imagine being in a large, commercial truck’s blind spot as they are changing lanes. The damage would be significantly worse because of their size and weight, right? Being involved in a blind spot accident with a truck can easily turn a relatively minor accident into one with life-threatening injuries. If you do get into a Phoenix blind spot accident, be sure to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Where are blind spots on a truck?
Blind spots on a regular passenger vehicle are significantly smaller than those on a truck, so many drivers may not realize the danger of driving in certain areas. The FMCSA published a helpful video that illustrates where a truck’s blind spots are.
As you can see, they are:
- In front of the truck – This includes being directly in front of and below the cabin of the truck.
- Behind the trailer – Similar to the front, being too close to the trailer or directly underneath it would cause you to be in a blind spot.
- From driver’s side door to about halfway back – The blind spot here spans from the driver’s side door across one lane of traffic and goes as far back as nearly half the trailer.
- From the passenger’s side door to about halfway back – This is the largest blind spot area on a truck and why you are taught to never pass them on the right. The blind spot extends from the passenger’s side door across two lanes of traffic and also goes as far back as nearly half of their trailer.
Truck blind spot accidents can happen for many different reasons
Because a truck has so many blind spots and they are all pretty large, accidents happen. Some causes for truck blind spot accidents include:
- Truck driver not having the appropriate training and qualifications
- Truck driver not properly aligning or checking mirrors
- Truck driver not checking blind spots
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while fatigued
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
Who is liable in a truck blind spot accident in Arizona?
Depending on the individual circumstances, either the truck driver or the driver of the other car could be held liable for a blind spot accident. Truck drivers receive specialized training where they learn about their blind spots and how to safely drive around other vehicles. If it is proven that a truck driver was negligent and ignored their training, then they could be found at-fault for the accident. At the same time, if the driver of the other car was proven to have driven recklessly around the truck, like cutting it off or tailgating, then they potentially could be found at-fault instead.
How to avoid truck blind spot accidents in Phoenix
Avoiding accidents is not always possible. However, learning more about trucks’ blind spots can help you be as safe as possible. The more you know what to look out for, the less likely you are to put yourself into a dangerous situation. When it comes to trucks, try your best to:
- Always pass on the left. Since a truck’s largest blind spot area is on the right-hand side, it is safer to pass them on the left where you are more likely to be seen.
- Leave trucks with enough room to brake. If you are traveling on a road with traffic lights, do not slam on your brakes or cut off a truck while approaching a red light. Trucks do not have the ability to stop on a dime like you do.
- Never change lanes directly in front of them. This goes hand-in-hand with the above. If you want to change lanes, try to leave trucks with enough room so they can follow behind you at a safe distance. They may not be able to slow down in enough time to avoid rear ending you.
- Do not ride beside a truck. Try to safely pass them so you do not stay in their blind spot for too long.
How often do truck accidents happen?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there 101,000 crashes involving large trucks that led to injuries and 4,444 that caused a fatality in 2020. In 90% of the crashes, there was only one fatality—but that is one fatality too many. Truck crashes are scary because of their sheer volume. If they collide with a regular vehicle, the truck will easily overpower the smaller car. The truck can push the car off the road, force it to roll over, or effortlessly crush it.
Further, the FMCSA found that many crashes involving trucks took place between the hours 6pm and 6am when it was significantly darker outside. Thirty-seven percent of all fatal crashes, 24% of all injury crashes, and 20% of all property damage-only crashes happened during this timeframe. Darkness makes it a little more difficult for anyone to drive; but adding in those major blind spots can make driving near trucks that much more dangerous.
If you were injured in a blind spot accident with a truck, be sure to contact an attorney as soon as you can. After you report the accident and receive medical treatment, the truck accident attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C. can help you file a strong case against the negligent driver. Serious injuries can lead to extremely high medical bills, lost wages if you cannot return to work, and a dramatic decline in your quality of life. You should fight a battle like this on your own. Call our office in Phoenix or Tempe, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Nick is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Association for Justice (formerly the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). He currently serves on the AAJ’s Political Action Task Force and its Oversight Committee, and on the Board of Governors for Revitalization in Arizona.
Read more about Nick Verderame