Truck drivers face long hours and tight deadlines in order to meet the demands of their job. And while most truckers are well-trained, capable drivers who get to and from their destinations without incident, sometimes disastrous accidents occur because of a truck driver’s negligence.
R.E. Lopez & Morales knows just how bad it gets when large trucks cause accidents. We have fought for victims who have suffered spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, major organ damage and loss of limbs. We have also represented families of victims who have filed wrongful death claims after the loss of a loved one.
Large Truck Accident Statistics
- In 2014, there were 417 tractor-trailer accidents in Texas.
- In 2014, there were 3,180 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in Dallas, leading to 26 fatalities and 98 incapacitating injuries.
- In 2013, 11 percent of all fatalities in motor vehicle accidents involved large trucks.
- In 2013, 97 percent of fatalities in crashes involving both a large truck and a passenger car were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Our trucking lawyers at R.E. Lopez & Morales have seen many different causes of accidents. As with other accidents, driver negligence is often the main cause. There is no doubt that safely driving a truck, especially in a congested area such as Dallas or Plano, is very difficult and complex. Truck drivers are supposed to be highly trained and skilled operators, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Common Causes of 18 Wheeler or Truck Accidents
Even when the truck driver has the proper training and experience, there are many other causes of these accidents. Other common causes of truck accidents include:
- Insufficient training or experience – Trucking companies are always looking for a way to maximize their profit margins, and one way to do this is to hire drivers who are not as experienced or properly trained. Unfortunately, while they are cutting their costs, they are also putting all of us in danger.
- Unrealistic delivery schedules – The more loads a truck driver and their company can complete, the more money they make. This often results in dangerous incentives for pushing all involved to move cargo at an unsafe rate.
- Overloaded cargo – An overloaded truck is more prone to accidents. Some trucking companies overload trucks to move more cargo at the expense of road safety.
- Unsecured cargo – Unsecured cargo can come loose on the highway, endangering other motorists and putting lives at risk. If a 20-pound item falls off a truck travelling 55 miles per hour, that item will strike another vehicle with half a ton of force.
- Faulty equipment – Modern tractor-trailers have a variety of safety and stability equipment and, if that equipment malfunctions, it can cause an accident. The trucking and maintenance company can be held responsible if this equipment isn’t kept in safe working order.
- Inadequate maintenance – Trucking companies might forgo adequate maintenance if that means moving cargo quicker. Unfortunately, one little oversight can put drivers who share the road with these trucks at great risk.
- Rollovers – There are many causes of large truck rollover accidents, including going too fast around curves, the weight or balance of the load being carried, road and intersection conditions, driving inattention, fatigue or distraction. Nearly 10 percent of all large truck accidents involve rollovers.
- Driving under the influence – The prospect of a truck driver operating a big rig under the influence of alcohol or drugs is truly terrifying. In Texas, the legal limit for blood alcohol content for drivers of commercial motor vehicles is half the limit for all other drivers.
- Reckless Driving – Just like any other subset of motorists, some truck drivers might be prone to speeding, improper lane shifts, following another vehicle too closely or failing to obey stop and yield signs. When someone operating a heavy truck drives recklessly, the consequences can be especially disastrous for other vehicles on the road.
- Driver fatigue – Driver fatigues is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in Dallas and nationwide. While there are strict guidelines that dictate the amount of time a driver can be behind the wheel in any given time period (known as Hours-of-Service rules), these rules are not always followed. For example, the recent Tracy Morgan truck accident involved a Wal-Mart truck driver who had not slept in more than 24 hours. Driving a truck is difficult enough, much less driving without proper rest.