Is Texas Fighting a Losing Battle Over Truck Collision Risks?
Texas is proudly known for its people’s ability to overcome whatever life throws their way. Unfortunately, this zeal is no match for the current battle Texans are facing every day—a battle that has claimed countless lives; a battle that will continue to shed blood unless safety standards, regulations, and education improve.
This fight is against the dangers of all-too-common truck collisions.
The Conflict and the Carnage
Texas has the privilege of being the second largest state in the U.S. and a pivotal commerce state as a result of its location and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. What does this have to do with truck collisions? Well, the bigger the state, the more roads. Furthermore, the volume of truck traffic on Texas roads is more than triple that of other states.
More trucks plus more road to travel plus more incentive for truckers to reach deadlines equals more opportunities for catastrophic collisions.
In 2015 alone, Texas fell victim to 34,230 commercial truck accidents, causing over 14,500 injuries, 600 of which were fatal.
Truck accidents are almost always severe, causing injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering traumas. The average car weighs around 3,000 pounds, while the average commercial truck weighs around 70,000 pounds. The significant difference in weight and momentum can cause the aftermath of a collision to be much more severe than a regular car wreck. Of course, there are many other causes of truck accidents—as we’ll discuss soon—but regardless of the root cause of the accident, it is almost a certainty that the victims involved in a truck accident will suffer very real injuries and very expensive property damage.
The following are only some of the reasons a truck collision can cause such overwhelming pain and suffering:
- Poor training and lack of experience. Driving a large commercial truck is not something that can be mastered in a short period of time. It takes a lot of time, effort, and first-rate instruction to operate it safely.
- Poor cargo loading. A truck that is overloaded or unbalanced by cargo or destabilized when cargo shifts is harder to control. Poor cargo loading can potentially alter stopping distance, making it harder to avoid a collision.
- Poor maintenance. Because of the size and weight of the average truck, the maintenance standards are fairly stringent. This is particularly true for braking systems. But some drivers or trucking companies skimp on the maintenance procedures in order to save time and money.
- Poorly rested drivers. Many truck drivers get a paycheck bonus when they get their freight in faster. To that end, some drivers opt to drive at night when there is less traffic, while some drivers opt to go without sleep. It is never safe to get behind the wheel of a car when you haven’t slept, and it is even more dangerous if you are behind the wheel of a truck.
- Poor driving. Speeding and driving aggressively are always dangerous, but the dangers are multiplied exponentially if the vehicle in question is a commercial truck.
The Pointing Finger of Fault
Drivers and owners of commercial trucks face different rules and regulations that don’t necessarily apply to drivers and owners of other vehicles. These rules mean that liability for collisions is sometimes shared. Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver, the trucking company, the maintenance company, and the manufacturer might all be held at fault after a crash.
- Driver liability. In a majority of the cases involving truck accidents, the driver can be sued for negligence. They may be found liable because of driver fatigue, distracted or reckless driving or a number of other traffic violations that directly led to the accident.
- Truck company or employer liability. In addition to the driver, the trucking company that employs him may be found negligent as well. If the trucking company skimps on safety rules, urges the driver to violate the safety procedures, or fails to monitor driver experience and training, it may also be sued.
- Truck manufacturer and maintenance company liability. Manufacturers of the truck or its equipment could be sued if it is found there was a defect in the trailer, tires, brakes, or any other part of the truck that directly led to the accident. Likewise, the repair shop responsible for fixing and maintaining the trucks can be sued if they failed to repair something or if it is found they improperly repaired a part. You may also be able to sue the shipping company, such as in cases involving hazardous materials. There may be circumstances where the contents of the truck were the cause of the accident.
It is possible that there may even be more parties that can be found liable for your truck accident. A personal injury attorney will consider the liability options and help you understand who could be held responsible for your accident-related injuries.
The Protection You Deserve
If you or a loved one has already been injured in a truck accident, consult attorney Steve Lee to discuss filing a personal injury claim.
At the Houston-area office of Steven M. Lee, P.C., we take great pride in serving clients who have been injured in vehicle accidents. We work hard to make sure that you get the results that you want. If you have been injured, call us today toll-free at 800-232-3711. We can help.