Trucking companies have drivers carrying goods throughout the state of Texas via the highways and interstates each day. Everyone is used to seeing these large commercial vehicles on the roads.
While there is no question that 18-wheelers are a huge part of the economy today, they also present serious risks on the roads. While we hope you are never involved in an accident with one of these large vehicles, if you are, you have rights. One right is to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. At The Burkett Law Firm, our Texas truck accident lawyer can get to work on your case to determine liability and file a claim on your behalf.
Being informed can help save lives. Here, you can learn about some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents on Texas roadways, which may help you avoid being a victim.
1. Distracted Driving
Distractions are everywhere. When drivers are distracted, they are not focused on what they are doing – driving. While a driver is focused on their phone screens, they may lose control of their vehicles and cause an accident.
In this situation, the at-fault driver would be the truck driver. If this happens, hiring a Texas truck accident lawyer is recommended since they can investigate the accident and the driver’s history to see if they have a history of distracted driving incidents or other driving violations. If they do, and a trucking company hires them anyway, the trucking company may be considered liable for the incident, too.
2. Driver Fatigue
Many truck drivers must “race the clock” to ensure their cargo is delivered on time. Because of this, some may remain behind the wheel for extended periods, leading to fatigue. Not only is fatigued driving dangerous driving, but truck drivers must also adhere to the hours-of-service regulations set by Federal law. If they do not do this, they may face additional penalties.
According to experts, fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Based on information from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), approximately 30% to 40% of all large truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. While this is true, the numbers are believed to be higher because many police accident reports do not cite this as the cause of an accident.
3. Extreme Weather Conditions
Texas sees its fair share of bad weather. Conditions like snow, ice, and rain can make drivers lose control of their large truck. If this happens, everyone on the road is at risk. Truck drivers must maintain a safe speed and adjust their speed in adverse weather conditions.
While the speed limit is set on Texas roadways to keep everyone safe, the speed a truck driver can go is determined by traction loss and visibility. The Texas Commercial Motor Handbook and the FMCSA have specific rules that all truck drivers must follow in extreme weather conditions. These rules include the following:
- Slow down
- Turn lights on
- Use extreme caution
- Pull to the side of the road when needed
- Always be ready to stop
- Watch for any weather-related traffic signals or signs
Adherence to these rules can decrease the likelihood of an accident.
4. Reckless Driving
In Texas, reckless driving is considered a serious offense. Reckless driving occurs when a truck driver does not pay attention or care about others’ safety. In this case, the authorities may note that the driver showed carelessness, dangerous driving, and irresponsibility, which caused an accident.
There are a few ways to prove that a truck driver acted negligently or that they drove recklessly. One example is if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is not only dangerous but illegal. If a truck driver engages in these things, they are putting everyone at risk.
Other examples of reckless driving that may lead to a truck accident include the following:
- Attempting to evade the police
- Racing with other vehicles
- Not signaling to other drivers
- Passing a school bus that is stopped
- Texting and driving
- Not yielding the right of way
- Running red lights
Each of these actions can lead to serious accidents and consequences.
5. Improperly Loaded Cargo
If the cargo in a truck’s trailer is not loaded properly, it may shift while it is being transported. This shift can throw the entire truck off balance. Sometimes, this will result in the driver losing control of their vehicle and causing an accident.
Sometimes, the cargo can fall from the truck. This will cause even more harm to other people who are on the road. If the truck is hauling some hazardous material, an accident may result in an explosion, fire, or toxic spill.
Your Rights After a Truck Accident in Texas
As you can see, there are many potential causes of truck accidents. If you are involved in a truck accident, we recommend getting in touch with a Texas truck accident lawyer from our law firm – The Burkett Law Firm. We have experience handling these types of cases and will work to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation.