Earlier this month, two truck drivers were tragically killed in a fatal truck accident just north of Wickenburg, Arizona. According to a news report covering the tragic accident, the two drivers were both driving semi-trucks, but heading in opposite directions. Evidently, the southbound truck crossed over the center median, although it is not yet known why, and the two vehicles crashed head-on. Unfortunately, both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Additionally, US-93, where the crash occurred, was closed for several hours in the aftermath of the accident.

While some accidents occur with no one to blame, far too many accidents happen as a result of distracted or fatigued driving. This is especially common with truck drivers, who have financial incentives to drive long distances each day, often with very little sleep beforehand. Because they are driving for such extended periods, boredom may cause them to check their phones, call or text loved ones, watch videos, or even play games. Unfortunately, even a few seconds of distracted driving can cause an accident. For example, a driver watching a video on his or her phone may accidentally veer across a median into oncoming traffic, causing a tragic accident like the one described above. Other times, a driver may become fatigued from their long hours and zone out or even nod off, causing them to crash.

While nothing can bring back a loved one after a tragic accident, Arizona law does allow the surviving family members of a deceased accident victim to sue the responsible party in a wrongful death suit. If successful, the family members may be able to receive monetary compensation to cover funeral and burial expenses, medical bills and emergency care from the accident, the value of lost wages the deceased would have earned, and the loss of companionship suffered by the loved one’s untimely death. When recovering from the untimely death of a loved one, however, it may be difficult for surviving family members to navigate the often complicated process of filing a wrongful death suit, especially while still in mourning. For this reason, potential plaintiffs are encouraged to contact a personal injury and wrongful death attorney who can help navigate the process and alleviate some of the pressure felt by the surviving family members.

Most motorists have had the unpleasant experience of driving behind a fully-load dump truck as it clumsily lumbers down the road. When loaded full of material or junk, dump trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds. As a result, drivers often have a difficult time coming to a complete stop and negotiating turns effectively. Additionally, dump trucks are heavy vehicles with enormous blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see other motorists. For these reasons, Arizona dump truck accidents are more common than most motorists realize.

Indeed, in 2016, the number of dump truck collisions increased by nine percent, to a total of 8,206. This figure only considers serious accidents that require at least one vehicle to be towed from the scene. Of these accidents, roughly 370 resulted in at least one fatality, either to the driver of the dump truck or to another person – motorist, pedestrian, or bicyclist – involved in the accident.

As a general matter, dump truck drivers owe those with whom they share the road a duty of care. This duty not only requires dump truck drivers to operate their vehicle safely and responsibly, but also obliges that they take care to safely load the truck and ensure that the load is secure. Indeed, unsecured cargo that bounces out of a dump truck is a major cause of Arizona dump truck accidents.

Truck drivers must spend countless hours on the road. To be sure, these long hours on the road can get monotonous. Boredom can lead to drowsiness, which may require a truck driver pull over. Because truck drivers are paid per mile, it is in their best interest to travel as far as possible each day. Thus, to help pass the time and stay awake, many truck drivers take prescription or illegal drugs. However, when truck drivers use drugs, they significantly increase the chance of causing an Arizona truck accident.

The most common type of drug consumed by truck drivers is marijuana. In part, this is probably because it is the driver’s preferred drug even while not behind the wheel. However, marijuana is also popular among truck drivers because it can have the effect of creating euphoria, which helps to pass the time. However, even within an hour after smoking or ingesting marijuana, the effects of the drug start to wane, leaving the driver drowsy.

According to a recent news report, Arizona is considering a ballot initiative that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Currently, marijuana is only legal for medicinal purposes. However, under the new law, any adult over the age of 21 could purchase the drug for recreational use. Of course, the law contains restrictions on where people can smoke marijuana, and the current prohibitions against intoxicated driving will remain. However, this raises the question of whether the legalization of marijuana will result in more truck drivers using the drug while behind the wheel.

With thousands of miles of highway connecting the west coast with the rest of the country, Arizona sees a disproportionate amount of semi-truck traffic. According to the most recent government statistics, in 2018 alone, there were over 12,500 Arizona truck accidents. This figure accounts for about 5% of all Arizona traffic accidents.

Nearly all truck accidents are preventable, with the exercise of due care. And while there are many causes of tractor-trailer accidents, some causes are more common than others. For example, the following are among the most common causes of Arizona semi-truck accidents.

Fatigue – Truck drivers have a financial incentive to travel as many miles as they can per day. Thus, many truck drivers spend long hours on the road, often with little to no sleep. While federal law requires truck drivers only drive a certain number of hours per day and take breaks at specified intervals, not all truck drivers obey these regulations.

Arizona is primarily a desert state, and has its share of unique weather phenomena. And while most Arizona drivers do not need to deal with slick or icy roads, sudden gusts of extreme wind are quite common. In fact, weather hazards are a major cause of Arizona car accidents, including wind-related accidents.

Wind-related car accidents are unique in that there often is little a motorist can do to foresee a sudden gust of wind. However, heavy winds often frequent the same locations, due to the topography the land, or the shape of the land. Thus, motorists should always remain vigilant when driving on Arizona highways, especially during times of high winds and other potentially hazardous weather conditions.

One night earlier this month was so windy that it caused several accidents. According to a local news report, the accidents all occurred on Interstate 10, between mileposts 83 and 84. Evidently, the winds were so strong that six semi-trucks and tractor-trailers rolled; two on the westbound side of the road, and four on the eastbound side of the road. Each of these crashes involved only a single truck; however, one of the truck drivers died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. Two others were injured, and the remaining drivers were uninjured.

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