Drowsy truck drivers present a threat to Texas motorists

Drowsy and distracted truck drivers cause a large number of truck accidents each year, which lead to the deaths and injuries of many Americans.

While maneuvering around large commercial trucks on Texas freeways may seem commonplace to many people, these massive vehicles are responsible for the deaths of many Texas motorists. In 2012, large trucks accidents resulted in the deaths of over 3,800 people nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Approximately 543 of those deaths occurred in Texas. This is a substantial increase from the 414 truck accident fatalities that occurred within the state in 2011. In fact, NHTSA shows an increasing trend of truck accident fatalities in Texas for the past four years.

Texas officials are looking for the root cause of this increase, and are acting to reduce the number of lives lost in large truck accidents. According to KEYE news, the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted Road Check 2014 in an attempt to catch truck driver violations. Out of the 9,228 commercial trucks that were checked, 21 percent of the tractor trailers were found to have equipment violations. Another 248 drivers lost their driving privileges due to various driving violations.

Negligent truck drivers risk lives

Although many tractor trailer drivers are competent and abide by the regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are also truck drivers that do not follow the laws. Distracted, drowsy and drunk truck drivers pose a substantial risk to other motorists on the road.

Such an incident was reported in the Houston Chronicle when an intoxicated truck driver ran a red light causing a devastating vehicle collision and the death of a 48-year-old man in Houston earlier this year. The truck driver is now charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Hours of service regulations

Some organizations are arguing over the FMCSA's hours of service regulations. The current policy prohibits truck drivers from spending more than 70 hours a week behind the wheel. It also requires drivers who put in a full 70-hour work week to rest for 34 hours before working again. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and many truck drivers are protesting this limit, as the regulation has dramatically affected production, according to an article published in The Trucker.

Other common causes of truck accidents

In addition to drowsy and intoxicated drivers, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports the following causes of truck accidents:

  • Inclement weather conditions, such as snow, rain, ice, wind and fog.
  • Distracted driving from cellphone use, programming navigation devices, eating and drinking.
  • Equipment malfunctions, including brakes, tires and lights.
  • Speeding.
  • Faulty under-ride guards.

Federal and state organizations continue to investigate ways in which they can decrease the number of lives lost in truck accidents each year.

When to seek legal assistance

Being involved in a truck accident can be a life-changing experience. Those who survive a devastating accident may be left with chronic pain and lifelong injuries. It is vital for truck accident victims to call for legal assistance during this horrible time. An attorney can provide the legal counsel you need and may be able to get you compensation for your pain and suffering. Please call us at 210-226-3777, toll free at 877-716-3777 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Keywords: personal injury, accident, distracted driving