Every day on Texas highways there are hundreds if not thousands of large trucks hauling cargo across the state. The high number of large trucks means there is a significantly higher chance of a truck getting into an accident and causing serious injuries or even death. Truck accidents have a variety of different causes, most of which are typically avoidable. In Texas, truck drivers must adhere to specific laws and regulations that are different from those governing passenger car drivers. Unfortunately, the commercial trucking industry has a reputation for violating industry regulations and safety protocols in the name of expediting cargo and increasing profits. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent report, over 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in the United States in 2019 with Texas usually leading the way with the highest number of fatalities.
The unsafe actions and negligent behavior of truck drivers takes a serious toll on Texas drivers as many become victims of serious truck accidents. If you have been in a truck accident, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of the trucking industry by your side to guide you through the legal process of seeking fair and just compensation for your injuries. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
With over 11 million large trucks hauling cargo on the roads in the United States at any given time, the likelihood of getting into a truck accident continues to grow. Many companies in the transportation industry do not abide by safety regulations, including federal and state laws that govern truck driver behavior. By trying to circumvent proper protocols, many large trucks get into serious roadway accidents.
The following are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
- Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers are often encouraged to drive as many hours per day as possible to get their cargo to its destination on time and/or early. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the number of hours per day a truck driver can operate their vehicle, many truck drivers and companies continue to break these rules and drive as long and far as possible. This quickly leads to driver fatigue which can and often does cause serious motor vehicle accidents. Many big rig drivers have even admitted to falling asleep at the wheel to try and get a few more miles into their long drives. Driving drowsy has been compared to driving drunk in that reaction times are slowed, and truck drivers can pass out at the wheel and even drive off the road. Driver fatigue is one of the most dangerous causes of truck accidents in the United States.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is a serious cause of accidents for passenger drivers and truck drivers alike. If a truck driver is using their cell phone to text, e-mail, read a message, or scroll through social media, they are much more likely to cause a serious truck accident. The FMCSA has banned texting and driving and the use of handheld cell phones for truck drivers who operate 18-wheelers and transport hazardous waste in an effort to curb distraction while driving. This has not, however, stopped truck drivers from driving while distracted and causing serious accidents.
- Drug and Alcohol Use: Drug and alcohol use is a common cause of trucking accidents in the United States. The FMCSA has recommended that drug and alcohol tests occur multiple times throughout a truck driver’s career, including during pre-employment, post-accident, at random, for reasonable suspicion, and when returning to duty. However, many trucking and cargo companies do not test their truck drivers for drugs or alcohol at all or have long gaps between tests that would easily allow a driver to operate their truck while under the influence. If a truck driver operates their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their reaction time will be slowed, they may be unable to control their truck, and/or they may pass out at the wheel, all of which can lead to serious accidents.
- Lack of Vehicle Maintenance: 18-wheelers and semi-trucks are complex vehicles that carry large loads of cargo. If a truck has not had appropriate maintenance before heading out onto the road with a heavy cargo, the truck may malfunction, the driver may lose control of the truck, and the truck can cause a serious accident. Regular maintenance and appropriate inspections must be performed on each truck before it goes out on a long-haul to ensure it will operate safely. When a truck is being loaded with cargo, the cargo must be inspected for safety as well. Lost loads also cause deadly accidents.
Common Injuries Sustained in a Truck Accident
Passenger vehicles are significantly smaller than semi-trucks and often take the brunt of the force during a truck accident. In many large truck accidents, the truck driver is unharmed while occupants of the passenger vehicle are seriously injured or killed.
The following are the most common injuries sustained in a truck accident:
- Neck and spine injuries
- Torn muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons
- Broken and fractured bones
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Lacerations, cuts, and/or penetration wounds
- Crushing injuries
- Emotional distress
Why Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
There are many factors involved in a truck accident that are not present in a collision between two passenger vehicles. In many truck accidents, the truck driver is not the only party at fault. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows that the trucking company or even the truck manufacturer may be legally at fault for the accident depending on the circumstances. Your truck accident lawyer will know how to investigate the facts of your case to identify all possible responsible parties and how to fight big insurance companies to ensure you receive the fair compensation you deserve for your injuries, damages to your vehicle, as well as pain and suffering. The trucking industry has many laws, rules, and regulations that must be followed to operate safely. Your attorney will know if any laws, rules, or regulations were violated by the truck driver or trucking company involved in your accident.
There are many types of trucking accidents that our team handles including:
- 18-wheeler accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Delivery truck accidents
- Tractor trailer jackknife crashes
- Semi-truck rollovers
- Commercial truck accidents
- Fire truck accidents
We Are Here to Help Fight for Your Rights
When you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it may seem like you are facing an uphill battle. However, know that if you or a loved one are seriously injured or killed because of another’s negligence, you do have the right to seek financial compensation for damages, your pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, and more. Contact us today if you have been involved in a truck accident. There is limited time to act, so don’t delay and contact us today for a free consultation.