The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Tucson

Statistics show that truck accidents have increased by 33% since 2011 in the US. 

Unfortunately, Arizona is a hotspot for truck accidents. What’s more, the highways around Tucson can be particularly dangerous. The I-10 runs right through Tucson and has been rated as one of the most dangerous highways in the US. 

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, proving liability may be an involved matter. 

Why?

Because the causes of truck accidents are often multi-faceted. Most truck accidents aren’t triggered by one cause alone, and liability can often be spread across various parties. 

To get an idea of the many areas of liability and contributing factors, keep reading for a list of the most common causes of truck accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is one of the top most common contributing causes behind truck accidents. 

Federal hours-of-service regulations stipulate that drivers may only spend a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel at a time. If you’ve ever undertaken a long road trip, you’ll know that driving for 11 hours at a time can be incredibly tiring. 

What’s more, surveys reveal that a lot of truck drivers exceed these limits, driving more hours in one go than what is legally allowed. There are various reasons for this, including tight turnarounds on delivery. 

Some drivers may drive longer hours than they’re legally allowed for fear of losing their jobs if they don’t meet a specific delivery schedule. 

If you’ve been in a crash involving a truck where the driver exceeded the 11-hour limit, a good truck accident attorney should be able to secure evidence to show that the driver was fatigued. 

If the truck driver was within the federal limit, it can be more tricky to prove fatigue, but it’s still possible if you choose the right truck accident lawyer

Mechanical Malfunction and Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance

Many people believe that drugs and alcohol are to blame for the majority of truck accidents. While they are a contributing factor in a small percentage of accidents, statistics show that mechanical defects and malfunctions are one of the most common causes of truck accidents. 

Tire failure and blowouts are the most frequent malfunction. Other mechanical malfunctions that can result in truck accidents include:

  • Brake failure
  • Failing transmission systems
  • Steering failure
  • Worn or bald tires
  • Improperly installed hitches and coupling devices
  • Broken, missing, or defective lights
  • Broken, missing, or defective mirrors
  • Over- or underinflated tires

If mechanical failure is to blame for the accident, liability can fall on multiple parties. The driver may be to blame if they were responsible for carrying out certain checks, such as tire pressure checks. 

The logistics company may be to blame for general vehicle maintenance lapses. The automotive company or parts manufacturer could also be liable if the operational failure resulted from a faulty part. 

Because liability can be spread across multiple parties, you must hire an auto accident lawyer who specializes in truck accidents. If you’ve been in a truck crash, you need an experienced attorney on your side who knows how to handle complex cases. 

New Routes

New routes are another factor that can contribute to truck accidents. If a driver has to travel a new route they aren’t familiar with, they’ll be less able to predict the road and compensate ahead of time.

Early action is critical for preventing truck accidents. Why? Because a semi-truck needs about 525 feet to come to a stop if it is traveling at 65 mph. 

Poor Weather Conditions

Poor weather conditions are a major risk factor for road accidents, both for passenger vehicles and trucks. Fortunately, here in Arizona, we don’t experience much snow. Spotting snow in Tucson is a pretty rare sight.

But, although Tucson doesn’t typically get snow, monsoon season can be just as lethal when it comes to weather and road accidents. During the monsoon season, Tucson can experience dust storms and haboobs, both of which can wreak havoc on visibility. 

Flash floods are also a possibility in monsoon season, and the driving rain that comes with them can make it difficult for truck and passenger vehicle drivers to see what’s up ahead. 

Speeding

You’ve probably heard the saying “speed kills”. Statistics back up this claim, revealing that speeding was a factor in 28% of all road fatalities in 2020. 

The higher the speed a truck is traveling, the more time the driver needs to brake. Higher speeds also exacerbate impacts and resulting injuries. 

If you were involved in a truck accident where the driver was exceeding the speed limit, proving this will be a pivotal factor in your case. 

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another common cause of all types of road accidents, resulting in 14% of injury crashes in 2020. Fortunately, distracted driving is on the decrease.

However, although many truck drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, this doesn’t mean they have their eyes on the road at all times. 

If a truck driver is distracted while out on the road this can have severe consequences. Possible causes of distracted truck driving include:

  • Texting or talking on the phone
  • Consuming food or beverages
  • Operating navigational devices
  • Logging driving hours
  • Liaising a delivery location or time
  • Checking emails or paperwork related to a delivery
  • Selecting or changing sources of entertainment such as podcasts, music, audiobooks, etc. 

Although some of these activities are commonplace for truck drivers, not all of them are legal. Most states have strict laws around activities that can cause distracted driving. 

Traffic Flow Interruption

Interruptions to traffic flow are another factor that can result in truck accidents. As we mentioned earlier, trucks need more time to brake than passenger vehicles, especially if they are heavily loaded. 

If an unforeseen interruption in the traffic flow occurs up ahead, the driver might not have enough time to bring their rig to a halt. Traffic flow interruptions can include:

  • An accident
  • Traffic lights
  • A vehicle that has suddenly slowed down or stopped
  • A pedestrian or animal on the road
  • A stop street

Some traffic flow interruptions, such as an accident scene, can leave a truck driver with very little warning. Other interruptions, such as traffic lights and stop signs are a routine part of road navigation. 

Prescription Medication Use

According to statistics, 66% of adults in the US take some form of prescription medication. 

Therefore, it’s not surprising that prescription drug use can be a contributing factor in road accidents. Truck drivers are not exempt from diseases, and a lack of exercise and disrupted sleep schedules can lead to an increased risk of chronic ailments. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, prescription drug use is one of the top 10 coded factors for truck accidents. 

Inadequate Training

Inadequate training is another potential factor in truck accidents. Although most truck drivers out on the roads have received some form of training, the industry is notorious for inadequate training requirements.

Recently, the minimum age to become a truck driver dropped from 21 to 18 years old. 

In some cases, truck drivers may have had zero experience navigating dangerous terrain or conditions, such as steep passes or snow.

To increase safety levels, truck drivers should also receive rigorous refresher safety training. Many logistics companies fall behind on this because they don’t want to foot the extra costs. 

Overloading

The heavier the load a semi carries, the more time it takes for the driver to brake. Heavy loads can also increase the probability of drivers losing control, going off the road, or rolling. 

Because of this, cargo loads have to adhere to a specific size, weight, width, height, and length limits. Hazardous materials incur even stricter regulations around loading and handling. 

If a truck is improperly loaded, this can be a contributing cause in an accident. However, the driver might not carry all the responsibility.

Truck drivers are responsible for checking their loads before and during transport. For instance, they need to ensure that any tarps are securely strapped down. But, depending on the circumstances, some liability might also fall on the trucking or loading company. 

Less Frequent Causes of Truck Accidents

Above we covered some of the most common causes of truck accidents. You may have noticed that we didn’t mention driving under the influence, or aggressive driving. 

This is because—contrary to popular belief—both of these are relatively minor causes of truck crashes. One of the sources we listed earlier shows that alcohol contributes to only 1% of truck accidents. 

Aggressive driving is also a minor contributing factor, but more prevalent than alcohol, having a direct effect on roughly 5% of truck accidents. 

Are You in Need of a Truck Accident Attorney?

If you have been in a truck accident, it can be important to understand the different causes and how they can affect your case. Truck accidents are usually complex cases that involve multiple causes, contributing factors, and liable parties. 

Damages and injuries can also be severe, and you must have the right legal representation on your side. 

Here at Sweet Lawyers, we specialize in truck accidents. We have a 98% success rate and have recovered millions in damages for our clients. Our attorneys understand the life-altering effects accidents can have, which is why we operate on a contingency basis. If we don’t win, you don’t owe us a dime. 

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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