Big rig accidents are a fairly common occurrence in the great state of Texas. Our state beats out the rest of the states in truck accident fatalities by surprisingly high margins. For example, in 2014, there were 532 fatal large truck accidents in Texas, representing a 14.2 percent rate. California, in the number two spot, experienced 281 truck accident-related fatalities, a 7.5 percent rate. Texas even holds the tragic distinction of the record holder for “highest number of large truck accident occupants killed,” at 114. Oklahoma follows with a far lower 41 deaths.
There are three main reasons for these alarming statistics. They include our location, population and the heavy presence of the oil and fracking industry. As a crossroads, Texas is a well-traveled route between the east and the west coasts. Its position along the Gulf of Mexico is another contributing factor due to the numerous ports creating heavy commercial truck traffic.
We are also a densely-populated state, and Texans are on the roads creating thick traffic on the main thoroughfares where semi-trucks travel. This congestion leads to hazardous conditions, which in turn contributes to motor vehicle accidents.
Finally, the oil and fracking industry has a large foothold in Texas. There were approximately 33,753 fracking wells drilled between 2005 and 2013, out of a nationwide estimated total of 81,898. That greatly impacts traffic through job commuting and the increased presence of commercial trucks.
To combat potential hazards, the trucking industry and regulatory agencies have implemented various rules and regulations to fight some of the common issues that lead to dangerous large truck crashes. These involve strict guidelines for the number of consecutive hours that a trucker may drive before he must rest. They include safety check requirements and guidelines for cargo and loading.
Truckers may not text and drive or speak on handheld mobile phones per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. Radar detectors are prohibited to curb speeding, and unauthorized passengers are banned safety hazards as well.
Despite these efforts, accidents continue to happen due to human error, mechanical failures, negligence and simple carelessness. And when a Texas motorist runs afoul of a big rig, the results are often tragic. A non-commercial vehicle is no match for the immense weight and size of a semi-truck, especially when fully loaded. Texans injured in these serious collisions may pursue civil claims to recover damages for their injuries. In the case of a fatality, loved ones may be able to file suit on behalf of their deceased family member.
If you or someone you know has been injured in one of the many truck accidents Texas roads see every day, contact an experienced Texas attorney for legal counsel. Your lawyer can help you build your case and pursue damages for this life-altering event.