The 5 Common Causes of Texas Truck Accidents

In May 2014 the U.S. Department of Transportation published truck accident data for 2012. The numbers were alarming: that year, there were 333,000 accidents involving commercial trucks across the nation—3,921 of which resulted in fatalities. When the U.S. DoT broke the accident totals down by state, Texas topped the list with 543 commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes.

Although there are both state and federal laws that require trucks to be properly maintained and regularly inspected, and commercial truck drivers must be specially licensed, trucks continue to be frequently involved in road accidents in Texas. Five of the most common reasons are explained below.

Improper Maintenance Procedures

One of the primary causes of truck accidents is improper maintenance of engines, tires, braking systems, and other components. Malfunctions are sometimes due to design or manufacturing errors, but in most instances, substandard maintenance is to blame. Examples include:

  • Brakes that should have been changed thousands of miles ago
  • Tire blow-outs due to heavy wear and tear
  • Transmissions that fail due to lack of proper attention

Trucking firms that fail to follow federal laws regarding care of their truck fleets can be held liable if an accident occurs.

Improper Loading

Improper loading is another leading cause of trucking accidents. If cargo weight is not properly distributed or is poorly secured, the driver may lose control and the truck could even jackknife on the road, causing a serious accident. Depending on who loaded the trailer, the trucking firm, loading contractor, or the shipper could be held liable.

Insufficient Driver Training

Trucking firms frequently pay novice drivers to take trucking courses and quickly put them out on the road after the course is completed. Not only do these new hires make less per mile than their more experienced counterparts, they also lack the experience required to safely drive large commercial trucks, especially in challenging weather conditions.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers work long hours. Many of them have tight delivery deadlines and are compensated according to mileage achieved. This emphasis on long distance and rigid schedules clashes with federal law (which imposes hourly driving limits and requires drivers to take periodic breaks) and can easily cause even veteran drivers to become fatigued.

Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 88{e567d5ec54745fd9bde8665c28b231f91ee2028ed6aa034480ac91952ee72ee9} of truck-related crashes are due to driver error. Truckers are more prone to distracted driving because of their long workdays and the exhausting demands of controlling such large commercial vehicles. Like other drivers, they can also be distracted by illegal cellphone use, tuning the radio, and even eating and drinking behind the wheel.

Truck accidents cause property damage, major injuries, and even death. If you were hurt in an accident attributable to driver or company negligence, contact the Sharp Firm right away. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping you obtain compensation for your injuries.