Why Texas Truckers Are At-Risk
Texas' agricultural and oil industries make it a hotspot for freight transportation hubs, and unfortunately, its vast size can make hitting out-of-state deadlines more challenging for truck drivers. Because of this, the state holds the largest percentage of fatal truck collisions annually (13%).
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aims to decrease the probability of these collisions by implementing new regulations, the overall rate of fatal crashes in the United States has continued to fluctuate over the last 30 years. Texas, on the other hand, has seen a sharp increase.
Here are the top five commonalities found in truck collisions throughout the state.
1. Driver Fatigue
According to the FMCSA's Large Truck Crash Causation Study, an estimated 13% of fatal collisions involve a fatigued driver. While there are provisions in place for drivers to have sufficient break times for rest, dispatchers may be demanding when it comes to delivery expectations, causing drivers to feel pressured to take fewer and shorter breaks.
The National Safety Council urges all motorists to get sufficient rest before getting behind the wheel, as fatigue has proven to triple your risk of being involved in a crash. When you are responsible for maneuvering a 40-ton truck, the effects may not be as noticeable but can significantly impact your reaction times.
2. Driving Under the Influence
While driving under the influence affects truck drivers at a significantly lower rate comparatively, hundreds of people die because of this each year. Although this number is seemingly insignificant, a survey found that about 50% of truck drivers admit to drinking and driving. However, the issue extends beyond alcohol consumption.
Research published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene found that about 27.6% of truck drivers abuse drugs while behind the wheel, with amphetamines and cocaine being the most common. Despite drivers being drug tested on the job, the grueling hours and late-night drives can cause some to turn to these stimulants for an extra boost of energy.
Remember, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is against the law in all 50 states, although the BAC limit may vary. Drug and alcohol usage has proven to increase one's chances of being involved in a collision with the potential to cause severe injuries and even death.
3. Truck Maintenance and Upkeep
Due to how sizable a truck can be, regular maintenance and upkeep is a crucial part of roadway safety. In fact, about 6% of fatal crashes involving large trucks are caused by vehicle-related issues like tires.
4. Distracted Driving
The Center for Truck and Bus Safety conducted research throughout the 2000s to find the most critical safety factors involved in truck collisions. Their study found that about 71 to 80% of crashes result from truck driver distraction.
Following these studies, the FMCSA enacted a ban on texting and driving for truckers. However, since these studies were completed before the rise of handheld electronics and social media, it is highly probable that this continues to be a pervasive issue among truckers and passenger car drivers alike.
Other forms of distraction can provide for dangerous consequences, including:
- External distractions like billboards, people, or buildings.
- Eating and drinking.
- Reading a map or using a GPS.
- Using a dispatching device.
For your greatest chance at remaining alert while driving, avoid both external and internal distractions that may take your eyes, hands, or mind off the task at hand.
5. Other Drivers
It's important to acknowledge that truck drivers are not solely responsible for all multi-vehicle collisions they are involved in. These common causes apply to each driver on the road, and often, the other car is found liable for the crash. By conducting a research analysis of truck collision studies from the FMCSA, AAA, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Trucking Association determined that, on average, passenger cars are found responsible for 80% of multi-vehicle truck crashes.
Despite this high number, only about 60% of truck crashes involve multiple vehicles, so all drivers must commit to improving roadway safety.
San Antonio Truck Accident Attorneys
Our The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC team is dedicated to getting you back on your feet following a collision with a large truck. Our firm believes that responsible drivers should be held accountable for the damages they cause to another person and their vehicle, which is why we will diligently fight for your rights.
If you or a loved one are seeking legal representation for an injury sustained in a truck collision, call (210) 807-3178 to get in touch with a member of our team.