Major Causes of Trucking Accidents in Arizona
According to the trucking accidents statistics by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), in 2020 there were 1,481 truck tractors, with or without semi-trailers, involved in trucking accidents, 61 of which were fatal and 323 caused injuries. In addition, 9,232 various types of trucks and truck combinations were involved in motor vehicle accidents, 33 of which were fatal and 2,023 caused injuries. Although these trucking-related accidents represent a proportionally small percent of all motor vehicle accidents (6%), these statistics indicate that 19% of trucking accidents result in fatalities and personal injuries.
Accidents involving semi-trucks often lead to greater damages than accidents involving only regular passenger vehicles, due primarily to their inherently larger size and heavier weight. When you suffer injuries in a trucking accident, you may have a claim for damages. Contact Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. to speak with a trucking accident attorney today.
Understanding Causation in Large Truck Crashes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completed a national Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTTCCS) in 2007 that looked at three major areas of truck crash causation: driver, vehicle, and environment. Researchers further subdivided these categories to determine the most common causes of large truck crashes in the United States, all of which were driver-related: fatigue, alcohol, and speeding.
FMCSA has not completed another large truck crash study since that time that specifically addresses causation. However, it has compiled statistics on causation-related factors in fatal large truck crashes each year in its Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts publication. In 2019, some of the most common driver-related causes of fatal large truck crashes were not that different from those found in the 2007 study: alcohol/drug use and and fatigue. The one addition to the list of common causes was driver distraction, which may be attributable to drastic increases in the usage of cell phones and other technological devices while driving between the dates of the two studies.
Driver-related causes represent an estimated 87% of all truck crashes. Driver causation includes:
- Non-performance, such as falling asleep, experiencing a physical impairment (heart attack or seizure), or alcohol or drug impairment.
- Recognition, such as distraction, inattention, or failure to anticipate a situation.
- Decision, such as driving too fast for conditions, miscalculating the speed of traffic, or following other vehicles too closely.
- Performance, such as panicking, overcompensating, or poor directional control.
Vehicle-related causes account for an estimated 10% of all truck crashes. Vehicle causation includes:
- Brake problems.
- Tire problems.
- Cargo shifts.
Environmental causes represent an estimated 2% of all truck crashes. Environmental causation includes:
- Roadway problems.
- Inclement weather.
Factors Most Commonly Associated with Risk of Trucking Accidents
The FMCSA study identified various factors associated with a greater risk of large truck crashes. In other words, the following driver, vehicle, and environmental factors were present more than any other factor in large truck crash cases:
- Brake problems
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Lack of familiarity with the roadway
- Roadway problems
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
- Work pressure from carrier
- Illegal maneuvers
- External distraction
- Tire problems
- Following too closely
- Cargo shift
- Internal distraction
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
Many of these factors combine to cause trucking accidents. For instance, if drivers are under pressure from an employer to deliver a load early or drive more quickly, they may be more apt to speed or drive too fast for conditions, drive while overly tired, or use over-the-counter or illegal drugs to stay awake.
Likewise, suppose drivers are unfamiliar with the roadway. In that case, they may be distracted while trying to follow a GPS device, follow the vehicle in front of them too closely, or make illegal or unsafe maneuvers to remain on the right road. Bad weather may throw a trucker’s schedule off track, putting them under more pressure to drive while tired, speed, and use drugs.
Contact Us for Legal Advice About Your Trucking Accidents Case
Commercial truck accident claims can be complex and often involve lawsuits against big trucking corporations with seemingly unlimited resources. In this situation, you need an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer who can stand up to these trucking companies and hold them accountable for their negligent behavior and practices.
Call our offices right away at 602-530-8400 or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation with a trucking injury lawyer. We can help you understand your rights and potential remedies when you have suffered injuries following involvement in a trucking accident.