Fatal accidents involving 18-wheelers and other big rigs have surged across Texas and nationwide. While trucks only made up 4% of registered vehicles on the road in 2019, they were also involved in 10% of all fatal crashes. The sheer size and weight of trucks make them far more likely to cause deadly crashes and severe injuries. However, like car accidents, many truck accidents are preventable.
If you or a family member suffered an injury or wrongful death at the hands of a negligent truck driver, it is essential to partner with a trusted truck accident lawyer. Your lawyer will assist you with every aspect of your claim and negotiate on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.
There are many contributing factors for the rise in fatal truck accidents nationwide, many of which were aggravated by the pandemic. Some of the most prevalent reasons for the increase in deadly truck crashes include:
While pay for truck drivers in Texas and the U.S. is rising, trucking companies are still struggling to fill positions. This shortage causes delays in deliveries and impacts both consumers and several company’s bottom line. Drivers and trucking companies are feeling this pressure. Companies feel pressured to send out inexperienced drivers, and drivers feel pressured to speed to meet tight deadlines. This creates dangerous and high stress driving environments that are ripe for accidents.
Many states, including Texas, have highway speed limits of 70 MPH or higher. Both truck and car drivers often exceed the speed limit to get to where they need to go as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, 18-wheelers and other big trucks need significantly more time to stop than a car in the event of an emergency. While automatic braking systems and internal speed limiters exist and can vastly improve truck safety, neither system is required for U.S. trucks.
In the monotony of driving long distances every day, it is easy for truck drivers to become tired or distracted while on the road. Some drivers may try to multitask or nod off unintentionally. Since trucks need more time to move, slow, and stop, decreased reaction time from distraction or fatigue can be fatal.
Unfortunately, due to driver shortages and increased demand, many trucks are being sent out on the road with significant maintenance issues. Federal law requires that trucking companies rigorously maintain their trucks. If a truck has an issue, it is supposed to be serviced and taken care of before it is sent out on another run. However, many trucking companies skip this critical step to keep their trucks moving. Often, maintenance issues are not discovered until an investigation is conducted following an accident.
Along with the rest of the nation, Texas has experienced some unprecedented weather events in recent years. Poor weather conditions can cause poor visibility and slick roads that can be difficult to maneuver in large trucks. If a truck cannot stop in time during inclement weather, deadly multi-car pileups can occur.
Getting into an accident with a truck can be a stressful and harrowing experience. However, you do not need to navigate the legal process alone. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout understand your stress and are dedicated to providing a personalized approach to every case. Our skilled attorneys will collect evidence, review your options, and advocate on your behalf to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. Call us today at (713) 987-7111 or fill out our contact form to get started and schedule a free consultation.