Many of us have had that feeling- it’s a pit in your stomach- when you’re driving on the highway and you’re suddenly surrounded by large semi-trucks. Even though you know most truckers are fine drivers, it only takes one to be sleepy, distracted, or worse, and suddenly there’s a crash of enormous consequences. Although truck-related collisions represent a small portion of the total amount of crashes reported daily, the fact that trucks have a much heavier mass than cars means that these collisions typically cause greater damage as well as an increased chance of injury.
Texas Truck Crash Statistics
Thankfully, traffic fatalities have decreased throughout the nation. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Texas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas ranks very poorly in road safety compared with most other states. On record in 2014, there were close to 33,000 fatal car crashes in the U.S., and more than 10% of those occurred in the state of Texas. According to research, Texas has the largest number of fatal crashes involving large trucks, and this number continues to increase; between 2010 and 2014, fatal semi-truck crashes increased from 400 to more than 550 per year.
Aside from the fact that Texas is a very large state, there are other reasons that contribute to an increase in truck-related fatalities here. Highway safety advocates in Texas attribute the rise to several factors, including:
- Population: Since Texas has some of the most populated urban areas in the United States, semi-trucks are forced to drive through heavy traffic in crowded areas, which leads to a higher risk of truck-related traffic collisions.
- Geography: Due to its central position in the country, essentially acting as a link between the eastern and western United States, a vast number of supply and delivery trucks must pass through Texas. Also, since Texas is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, an enormous hub for import/export related traffic, Texas highways are full of trucks moving products and equipment toward and away from the southern border.
- Fracking and Oil Drilling: Both the fracking and oil industries have experienced booms since 2008. Researchers say that vehicle fatalities in Texas started growing the very same year, since increased truck traffic has correlated with the industry’s growth.
Fort Worth Accident Map
We believe education is a powerful tool to prevent more accidents. If drivers know the most dangerous streets and intersections, we can all be more cautious while driving there. There have been over 40,000 accidents in Fort Worth over the past 6 years, and we took the time to review them all & create this interactive map.
Measures Being Taken to Decrease Truck Collisions
Since trucks serve an increasingly important role in our commerce-driven society, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has imposed very strict rules on truck drivers, tractor-trailers, and the trucking industry as a whole.
- No More Radar Detectors: Since studies have demonstrated that truck drivers using radar detectors exhibited a tendency to speed, all trucks weighing more than 18,000 pounds are prohibited from carrying a radar detector inside.
- No Transporting Unauthorized Passengers: Even though it may be tempting for long-haul drivers to carry unauthorized passengers, such as family members on the lonely road ahead, FMCSA has declared it a safety hazard since this type of distraction may cause serious crashes. However, drivers can have co-drivers with written authorization from the trucking company beforehand.
- No Talking on Mobile Phones: Although nearly 50 percent of the states in the U.S. still permit drivers to use handheld devices while operating a vehicle, in regards to truck drivers, there is a federal ban on the use of ALL handheld cell phones that supersedes individual state laws.
- No Texting while Driving: As stated under FMCSA’s no-texting rule, all truck drivers are banned from sending email, using voice commands, opening web pages, reading or sending text messages, or touching more than one button to send or receive phone calls. If caught breaking this law, a truck driver can be charged more than $2,500 for each individual offense while truck companies could be forced to pay fines over $10,000 per each sited violation.
Experienced Texas Truck Collision Lawyers
Along with these laws, our dedicated and resourceful team at Patterson Law Group are working tirelessly to make Texas residents safer. In fact, one of our clients received a $152,440.00 settlement (after fees and expenses) in a recent personal injury case involving a woman who had neck and back injuries requiring multiple injections as a result of being struck by an 18-wheeler.
Give us a call today at 817-784-2000 if you’ve been involved in a truck-related collision in Texas.