Texas experiences a substantial increase in large truck accidents

Texas has an extraordinarily high large truck accident fatality rate. Deadly truck accidents can be caused in a variety of different ways.

Most Texas motorists have become accustomed to driving alongside large tractor trailers on the state's freeways. Although these massive vehicles are a necessary part of the local and national economy, their sheer size alone poses a significant threat to motorists on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,802 people were killed nationwide in large truck accidents in 2012. Incredibly, 543 of these deaths occurred in Texas that year. This number has risen substantially from the 299 large truck accident fatalities that took place in Texas in 2009. Despite attempts made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to decrease the number of large truck collisions, innocent peoples' lives are still in danger.

FMCSA's Hours of Service regulations

As the U.S. economy continues to improve, an increasing number of skilled commercial truck drivers are needed to distribute products across the country. NBC News reported that there is a sizable shortage of qualified truck drivers nationwide. Not only does this put pressure on trucking companies to get their freight delivered, but truck drivers are pressed to meet tight deadlines as well. As a result, many truck drivers and trucking companies keep large truck operators behind the wheel for exorbitant amounts of time, which is in direct violation of the FMCSA's Hours of Service regulations.

These regulations were recently revised to decrease the amount of time commercial truck operators could spend driving on a daily basis. The FMCSA prohibits truckers from driving for more than 11 hours each day and 70 hours each week. Drivers that do put in a full 70-hour week must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours, including two nights from 1 to 5 a.m. The regulations also require truckers to break for at least 30 minutes within the first eight hours of their driving shift.

Causes of truck accidents

In addition to fatigued truck drivers, there are many factors that can lead to commercial vehicle accidents. The NHTSA lists the following as common contributors to truck collisions:

  • Truckers who are distracted by electronic devices, including cellphones and navigational devices.
  • Truckers who drive poorly in bad weather conditions, including high winds, ice, snow, fog and rain.
  • Truckers who speed and follow too closely.
  • Truckers who drive while impaired.

One truck driver was following a vehicle too closely, which resulted in a fatal collision, according to Click 2 Houston News. The trucker rear-ended a Pasadena woman's car with such force that the vehicle slid underneath the tractor trailer, instantly killing the woman inside the car. The woman had stopped quickly to avoid hitting a man who was retrieving objects alongside the road in front of her. The truck operator did not see her quickly brake, resulting in the catastrophic accident.

Contact an attorney

Whether you have sustained serious injuries or have lost a loved one due to a truck driver's negligence, a personal injury attorney can provide essential legal assistance in your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and emotional trauma.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury