Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyers
Experienced Phoenix Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers
Our Phoenix truck accident lawyers and our co-counsel attorneys at Blake Law Firm conduct thorough forensic investigations and, in appropriate cases, work with accident re-constructionists to develop legal theories capable of securing the compensation our clients need and deserve. We work with speed and precision to recover all pertinent evidence and witness statements.
Our team has the resources and bandwidth to invest into a full-blown investigation of the crash when warranted. With our no-fee promise, we don’t get paid unless and until you get paid, which allows you and your family to heal and recover as we carry the legal burden.
Arizona Truck Accident Statistics and Laws
According to a report from the Arizona Department of Transportation, ‘Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2016,’ there were 10,873 accidents that involved some type of truck combination. One hundred and two of the crashes involved fatalities and 2,555 involved serious injury. A substantial amount of these crashes occurred in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, where businesses are located and interstates converge. In order to combat these statistics, Arizona has created its own set of laws and regulations.
In addition to following the federal trucking regulations, each state has commercial trucking laws in place to protect commercial drivers and other motorists on the roadways. In Arizona, there are many laws for commercial truckers and their semi-trucks that are aimed at keeping both truck drivers and other motorists safe on the road. These laws concern the amount of time drivers may spend behind the wheel, the maximum weight the truck may haul, the maximum size of the truck, quality control, commercial licensing, Hazmat and more. Common Phoenix truck laws include:
Maximum Speed Limit for Large Vehicles and Vehicles with Trailers
- Unless a lower maximum speed limit is posted or the department designates a greater maximum speed limit pursuant to subsection B of this section, a person shall not drive either of the following on a highway in this state at a speed that is greater than sixty-five miles per hour:
- A motor vehicle or vehicle combination with a declared gross weight of more than twenty-six thousand pounds, excluding a motor vehicle designed for carrying sixteen or more passengers, including the driver. For the purposes of this paragraph, “declared gross weight” and “vehicle combination” have the same meaning prescribed in section 28-5431.
- A vehicle that is drawing a pole trailer that weighs six thousand or more pounds.
- The length of a semitrailer operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer combination or a truck tractor-semitrailer-forklift combination shall not exceed fifty-seven feet six inches.
- The length of a semitrailer or trailer operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combination shall not exceed twenty-eight feet six inches.
- The length of a trailer operating in a truck-trailer combination shall not exceed twenty-eight feet six inches.
- If the length of a semitrailer is more than fifty-three feet, the overall length of a truck tractor-semitrailer combination shall not exceed sixty-five feet on all highways, except for the national intercity truck route network designated by the United States secretary of transportation as required by the surface transportation assistance act of 1982 or on a system of highways that is designated by a local authority. In designating the streets, the local authority shall consider any reasonable restriction including such safety restrictions as structural hazards and street width and any other safety factors identified by the local authority as a hazard to the motoring public.
- A vehicle transporter and the semitrailer it draws shall not exceed a length of seventy-five feet.
- A truck-semitrailer combination shall not exceed an overall length of sixty-five feet.
If you are interested in learning more about commercial truck regulations or licensing through the Arizona Department of Transportation please visit their website by clicking here, or call 602-712-8851.
Federal Trucking Laws
The FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for devising rules, laws and regulations that govern motor carriers in the United States. Additionally, the FMCSA has created numerous safety regulations designed to increase the safety of large trucks and other vehicles, drivers and passengers on the roadways.
Under Part 383 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”):
- A truck driver can only operate their vehicle for a maximum of 11 continuous hours in a 14-hour work day. Then they must rest for 10 continuous hours before getting behind the wheel.
- The operator may not drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days, or after 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. They may restart the seven or eight-day period only after taking 34 or more hours off duty.
- Truck drivers are allowed to have one driver’s license, which has been issued to them by their home state. This license (a CPL or CDL) can only be issued after a skills and knowledge test. Furthermore, hazardous materials (“Hazmat”) carriers must pass additional tests before they are given a license.
- Truck drivers must pass a physical exam every two years in order to be eligible to drive.
- No driver may report to work with a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 or more. Additionally, drivers cannot carry any alcohol with them while driving, unless the alcohol is part of their cargo.
- Drivers must maintain a log book of their time spent behind the wheel.
- Drivers must follow certain rules (created in January 1, 2004) for tying down cargo and using certain security devices.
- Trucks are required to display their USDOT number, Hazmat markings and other important information.
In addition to the rules and regulations above, there are many other regulations the FMCSA has created to govern the actions of trucking companies, and Hazmat carriers, including such regulations as: complying with USDOT safety rules, unfit carrier rules, skills requirements, disqualification of drivers, logbook rules for companies, hours of service, Hazmat regulations and how to comply with them and State Hazmat registration procedures.
The Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes
Most tractor-trailer accidents are avoidable when the trucking company and its drivers take the proper precautions. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) that reviewed more than 120,000 large truck (trucks with gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds) collisions concluded that 87 percent of the truck crashes were due to negligence of the driver. These actions included:
- Recognition: the driver was distracted, inattentive or failed to observe a situation adequately.
- Decision: the driver followed other vehicles too closely, was driving too fast or misjudged the speed of other vehicles.
- Performance: the driver exercised poor directional control or panicked and overcompensated.
- Non-Performance: the driver was disabled by a seizure or heart attack, fell asleep or was physically impaired for another reason.
- Other associated factors: interruption of the traffic flow, illegal maneuvers, fatigue, illness and unfamiliarity with roadway.
The FMCSA concluded that the remaining 13% of factors causing a truck accident were divided into 10 percent maintenance problems, such as worn out tires, and three percent environmental factors, such as bad weather.