From rural highways to busy stretches of major city interstates, Texas roads are notoriously deadly. According to a 2018 report from Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT), 1 reportable crash occurred every 58 seconds, 1 person was injured every 2 minutes 7 seconds, and 1 person was killed every 2 hours and 25 minutes. Of more than 12,161 serious crashes that occurred, 14,908 people were left with serious injuries and 3,639 were killed. What’s more, Texas currently holds a 19-year streak of having at least one traffic fatality every single day of the year.
What Makes Texas Roads So Deadly?
Oil extraction, refining, and production are the lifeline of the Texas economy, representing about 9% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is the top producer of crude oil and gas in the United States, boasting 41% of the nation’s crude oil production and 25% of its natural gas production. A 2015 report released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) revealed that oil production activity is strongly correlated with the rate of commercial vehicle accidents. When oil production activity increases, the number of reported road accidents involving 18-wheelers increases as well.
Bearing this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Texas routinely leads the country in crashes involving 18-wheelers.
What’s Causing These Accidents?
Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, extensive property damage, exorbitant medical bills, and major life disruptions such as loss of income and productivity. While truck accidents can occur due to a host of reasons, they are often the result of negligence – whether at the hands of a truck driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturer.
Truck driver negligence. The profit-driven trucking industry is well-known for violating certain safety standards in exchange for on-time delivery of their products. This can easily lead to other dangerous factors, including driver fatigue, distracted driving, not securing their load properly, problems with the truck maintenance, aggressive driving, and speeding.
While large truck drivers are limited to driving no more than 11 consecutive hours, some drivers do not adhere to the rules.
Poorly maintained roads. With constant heavy traffic from 18-wheelers that weigh more than 80,000 pounds, our state’s roadways and bridges have taken a pounding. Numerous studies have shown that on average, Texas roads and bridges deteriorate faster than in other parts of the country.
Highway design flaws. There are ten intersections in the Houston area alone that carry huge amounts of traffic just about every hour of every day. Unfortunately, the design of some of the roads makes it hard for cars and other vehicles to turn at certain speeds.
Roads like these make traffic congestion a nightmare and rear-end collisions all too common. The congestion problem is so bad, it’s reported that Houston drivers spend about 75 hours per year stuck in traffic, according to a study by Texas A&M.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
Although each case is different, you may be able to hold several people responsible if you are involved in a truck accident, depending on who caused it.
The driver. If you and your personal injury attorney can prove the driver caused the accident through negligence, they could be held liable. Negligence would include failure to obey traffic laws, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not securing the truck’s load properly.
The trucking company. If it can be proven the driver’s employer is at fault, they may be held liable too. Reasons can include not training the driver properly, ignoring a history of bad driving, failure to perform regular maintenance on the truck, etc.
The maker of the truck or of its parts. If the accident occurred because of a defective part on the truck, the manufacturer of the part or the truck could be held liable as well.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large truck, do not rely on the insurance company to do the right thing. Your best chance of securing the justice and compensation you deserve is by hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in 18-wheeler crashes. Williams Hart is familiar with the predatory tactics of insurance companies, and we will not allow them to take advantage of you. Our lawyers can help you through the entire legal process, so you can focus on what matters – your recovery.