Fatal truck wrecks are on the rise across the nation. While large trucks account for just 4% of all registered vehicles and an estimated 7% of total vehicle miles traveled, they continue to make up as many as 10% of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes. In 2019, truck accidents reached the highest number in 30 years. In 2021, trucking accidents–as well as traffic fatalities on the road in general–have risen sharply.
What causes those high rates of truck accidents–and what are your rights if you suffer serious injuries in a truck accident?
Texas Big Truck Accident Rates
In Texas, big trucks pose an even more serious hazard on the roads, with a large percentage of the fatal truck accidents each year occurring on the streets of Texas. There are several key reasons why Texas drivers may find themselves facing more hazards from big trucks on the road.
Driver shortages have continued to plague the trucking industry.
Pay for truck drivers is going up, but that doesn’t mean the shortage is going away. A shortage of truck drivers has made it incredibly difficult to transport goods across the nation. Many companies have seen delays–and consumers feel those delays more with every day that passes.
The pressure is on–and many trucking companies are responding by sending out inexperienced drivers who simply do not have the skill needed to safely navigate out on the road, especially in tight traffic. Those inexperienced truck drivers may be much more likely to cause an accident–and unfortunately, they make up an ever-increasing percentage of the truck drivers on the road.
The pandemic also pushed the demand for truck drivers higher: even with more drivers out on the road, many consumers are still ordering goods for delivery, rather than going out to purchase them themselves. Those increased online purchase rates mean an increased need for truck drivers.
People are pushing high rates of speed as they travel across Texas.
Speeding is up across the country. “People want to get out and they want to drive fast,” notes Don Schaefer, the executive vice president of the Mid-West Truckers Association. Many people are heading out for the vacations they put off over the last year. They’re heading to new destinations.
And as they head out, they’re increasing their rate of speed well above safe levels. As a result, they’re inadvertently causing more accidents with big trucks.
Truck drivers, too, continue to speed across Texas, both as they try to keep up with traffic around them and as they push to reach their destinations as quickly as possible so that they can pick up another load, avoid exceeding the federally-mandated number of hours they can spend on the road, or simply meet tight deadlines.
Speed-governing technology, which can be installed on big trucks, can help significantly reduce the risk of speed-linked accidents with big trucks. This technology helps limit the truck to traveling at a safe speed, which means the truck driver is held to that rate of speed regardless of the flow of traffic.
Many studies, including studies performed by trucking companies themselves, have shown a decrease in accidents and fatalities after installing this technology.
Drivers become complacent behind the wheel.
Complacency is a serious problem for truck drivers. Many of them feel that they have seen it all, done it all, and don’t have to worry about anything that the road throws their way. Unfortunately, tired truck drivers can put them at increased risk for some types of accidents.
Driver distraction poses a potent challenge out on the road–and big trucks need more room to stop, more room to slow, and more room simply to maneuver, which means that distraction can quickly prove fatal. Texas offers long stretches of open road, which can further increase overall complacency.
Technology Can Help- If Used
Technology can stand in the gap for these key problems, too. Automatic braking and collision avoidance technology can help truck drivers control their vehicles. Instead of allowing a truck to simply plow forward into another vehicle, for example, automatic braking technology can help bring trucks to a full stop. Unfortunately, many fleets choose not to install these useful technologies in an effort to cut overall costs.
Many trucks are sent out on the road in spite of maintenance problems.
Many trucks continue to travel across Texas in spite of bald tires, defective brakes, and a host of other problems that make the truck unsafe to drive. Federal policies state that trucking companies should carefully maintain their big trucks. Maintenance includes completing needed repairs and taking care of any problems before the trucks go out for another run.
Many companies ignore safety needs in an effort to save money or keep their trucks rolling. Often it is only after a truck crash investigation that safety violations are discovered.
Texas has a number of densely-populated areas that can prove more difficult to navigate.
Texas includes a number of cities with high population density. Big cities mean a lot of people on the road within a relatively short span of time–especially during rush hour traffic.
Densely-populated areas like Houston and Dallas and the interstates in Texas can slow down truck drivers or increase the risk of an accident due to the sheer number of other vehicles traveling around them.
What are Your Rights After a Texas Truck Accident?
Following a Texas truck accident caused by driver or trucking company negligence, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries.
An experienced truck accident attorney in Texas can give you a better idea of how much settlement compensation you should really expect and who may bear liability for your accident.
In general, a truck accident claim can include compensation for your medical bills, any wages you lose due to your injuries and time in recovery, and your pain and suffering and other damages. Together, that can add up to the funds you need to help rebuild your life following a serious accident.
Did you suffer injuries in a Texas truck accident? At Baumgartner Law Firm, we help our top-rated truck accident lawyers help clients seek compensation for serious truck accident injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
(281) 587-1111 or Send us an Email