Texas is no stranger to the trucking industry, with its myriad of highways and central position in the country it is very often driven through on a trucker’s route. Unfortunately, that puts Texans at a greater risk of being a victim in a trucking accident. Any vehicle accident carries the potential for severe injuries, but heavy trucks substantially increase the risk to all parties involved when they collide with others on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nine percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017 involved large trucks. In addition, 72 percent of those killed were occupants of the other vehicles involved in a collision with a truck.
With massive amounts of force behind them, large trucks can have a devastating effect on smaller vehicles in a collision. Heavy loads also increase the amount of time required to brake and react to situations on the road. The potentially deadly impact of diesel big rig vehicles makes it essential for companies and drivers to exercise extra diligence on the road.
The negligence that causes and/or contributes to trucking accidents can be the same as in regular car accidents. For example, truck drivers can cause accidents due to speeding, ignoring road signs, operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or engaging in distracted driving, like texting. However, trucking as an industry is heavily regulated and when those laws are ignored, it can lead to serious accidents.
Trucking Industry Responsibilities
First, truck companies often do not check the driving records of their employees, leading them to hire unsafe drivers. Second, proper training is required for all truck drivers, but it’s sometimes not as rigorous as needed since companies are eager to get as many drivers on the road as possible. Similarly, there are strict guidelines around how many hours a driver can drive each day and how many days they can drive without a break. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, trucking companies are setting hard and fast deadlines; and, in order to meet them, truck drivers feel pressure to ignore federal hours of service regulations. While ignoring regulations might help truckers complete jobs more quickly, it puts them at risk for fatigued driving. When truck drivers decide to drive while feeling fatigued, they put everyone at risk.
Problems with the trucks themselves can cause a trucking accident. Equipment failures are a common problem that contributes to accidents on the road. As trucks rack up thousands of miles in a short timespan, their parts can quickly wear down. If they are not diligently maintained, a part may fail during transit and cause an accident. Brakes, tires, transmission, and lights are the most common equipment failures that large trucks experience. Also, the cargo itself may not be secured correctly or the truck could be overloaded, which could cause it to tip over or jackknife. The speed with which the industry operates means that things like maintenance and ensuring loads are secured correctly sadly often fall by the wayside.
A collision involving a large truck can cause devastating injuries, particularly for the occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident. Victims face a wide range of potential harm, ranging from lacerations to paralysis or even death. The medical bills resulting from these injuries can place a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of victims and their families, as medical bills, medications, and the costs of treatment can quickly accumulate. While trucking companies are legally required to carry insurance for truck accidents, they generally look to settle them quickly and for little payout. Victims may not know where to turn and be intimidated by the thought of trying to get compensation from a major trucking company. An experienced personal injury trial attorney examines each case to determine negligence and to find a way to hold the responsible party or parties accountable.
Houston Truck Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured during a truck accident, you may have grounds to seek out compensation that will cover the cost of your damages. As experienced Houston truck accident lawyers, Adame Garza LLP has helped score of individuals hurt in collisions with large trucks, and we can carefully analyze your situation to determine how we can help you. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.