Every year, commercial truck wrecks are responsible for fatalities and thousands of injuries in the U.S. A prime concern of federal safety organizations is the prevention of big rig wrecks, yet the numbers continue to rise. Concerned citizens like yourself are asking why accident figures are rising.
This leaves others, including accident attorneys who represent injured clients, dealing with the aftermath of these events and also wondering why this is occurring. With more safety regulations in place than ever before, accident lawyers are seeking answers as to why more big rig wrecks are happening.
Incidence of Big Rig Wrecks On the Rise Again
According to recent statistical data on truck wrecks published in 2015 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 3,852 people1 were fatally injured in over 300,000 crashes that involved heavy trucks. Of those killed, 2,646 were occupants of passenger vehicles, 600 were drivers of or occupants of the involved commercial truck, and 563 were a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
While you may find these numbers startling enough, accident attorneys point out that they have risen in most categories every year since 2009.1
What Can Be Done to Prevent Truck Wrecks?
Based on these statistics, the roads you drive on are becoming less safe instead of safer as might be expected due to increased safety regulations. Big rig wrecks and the fatalities and injuries they cause are on the rise, even while laws designed to reduce these numbers have taken effect.
Accident lawyers and many safety experts suggest there are several factors involved, many relating to the failure of trucking companies and their drivers to embrace an increased safety effort as follows:
- Lack of Proper Training - The number of qualified, properly trained, and healthy drivers on the road is decreasing at an alarming rate. As a result, accident attorneys are seeing more commercial carriers hiring unskilled or unfit drivers to keep their trucks on the road. A primary cause of deadly truck wrecks is lack of training - and at this time there are not any training requirements that must be followed.
- Poor Driving Habits - Many drivers simply use poor driving habits, including distracted driving, speeding, and failing to check blind spots before maneuvering their trucks.
- Failure to Comply with Safety Regulations - Drivers and carrier companies alike are often found in violation of safety laws, such as vehicle maintenance regulations, load regulations, and others designed to prevent big rig wrecks.
- Breach of Hours-of-Service Regulations - There are clear rules on hours-of-service and how many hours drivers can work in one day and consecutive days. In spite of this, many drivers continue driving longer than they should. This leads to driver fatigue, which accident lawyers recognize as a prime cause of truck wrecks.2
Although federal regulations are addressing common problems within the commercial carrier industry and pushing for safer highways, accident attorneys find that lack of compliance continues to work against such efforts. As a result, the number of big rig wrecks has remained high and increased in the last 8 years.1
So when you ask what can be done to prevent big rig wrecks in Texas, the answer may not be a definitive one. Considering the known causes of these crashes, accident lawyers stress the need for improved compliance among commercial carrier companies and their drivers to make traveling Texas highways safer for all involved parties.
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Highway Loss Data Institute: Large Trucks 2015 Fatality Facts, November 2016
2The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: News Release - March 10, 2016