Truck Accident Fatalities

Texas roadways see a large number of trucking accidents every year. Because of their size and weight (the average 18 wheeler weighs about 35,000 pounds without cargo), 18 wheeler accidents often cause devastating and life-altering injuries or the death of those involved. Unfortunately, the number of deaths that result from these accidents continues to rise. According to the most recent information put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Texas is one of the deadliest states when it comes to large truck accidents.

Fatality Background Information

The most recent NHTSA report revealed data from the last two available years on fatalities. The latest information collected on large truck accidents is from 2020 and was compared to data collected in 2019.

The NHTSA found that a total of 4,134 fatal truck accidents occurred in the United States in 2020. Unfortunately, the state of Texas alone saw 580 of those fatalities, leading the nation in this category.

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Reasons for Large Truck Accidents and Fatalities in Texas

Texas remains the leader in large truck accident fatalities for several reasons:

Distracted Driving

The CDC reported that in 2018 over 400,000 drivers and passengers were injured and another 2,800 people were killed as a result of distracted driving. While those numbers are not specifically attributed to large truck accidents, distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of accidents across the board – regardless of vehicle types involved.

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Texas Industry

Texas is home to several main industries within the United States, including oil and agricultural products. Of course, these products must be shipped around Texas and the rest of country, resulting a high than average number of semi-trucks on the road.

Texas has the second-highest number of semi-trucks on its roadways in the country with over 12 million large trucks in operation. The sheer number of semi-trucks on the road increases the likelihood of collisions with other vehicles.

Trucker Shortage and Driving Schedules

The pandemic has put a strain on the trucking industry since the original shutdowns began in 2020. The shutdown created a drastic increase in the demand for shipping, straining the trucking industry. The American Trucking Associations reports that the trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, and the surge of shipping orders in 2020 only increased the workload.

To combat this increase, the federal government ended up easing trucking restrictions which affected rules on hours and shifts. These relaxed trucking industry regulations meant that truck drivers were on the road longer, transporting needed goods during the pandemic. The increased strain on truck drivers likely contributed to the increase in serious and fatal trucking related crashes.

Speed and Equipment

Excessive speed and equipment malfunctions also play a consistent role in semi-truck accidents. Texas has some of the fastest interstate speeds in terms of miles per hour in the country. Depending on the specified segment of the road, speed limits range anywhere from 75-85 miles per hour. Speed has always played a role in accidents, and increased speeds can ultimately lead to increased accidents and fatalities.

Equipment malfunctions can likely be attributed to the increased time trucks were operating in an attempt to keep up with shipping demands during the pandemic. More time on the road requires more maintenance to ensure safety, which is sometimes neglected.

Three wheels of a large semi-truck in Texas

What Truck Accident Attorneys Can Do for You

An experienced Austin trucking accident attorney can navigate the potentially complicated process of making a successful claim after being injured in an accident involving a semi-truck. As these large truck accidents are generally serious or fatal, it is all the more important to seek experienced and professional help as soon as possible. If you need a truck accident attorney in Austin, Texas, please feel free to contact Sandoval and James.

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