“There is a reason trucking companies and the corporations that hire them are facing a tsunami of personal injury lawsuits,” stated Tim Riley, a truck accident attorney in Houston, Texas. “The primary reason is that they have not made Texas highway safety their top priority. And there are plenty of rule-breakers and law-breakers in the truck driver pool and the trucking companies. All you have to do is read some of the public notifications on the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and it will raise the hair on the back of your neck.”
What Are The Main Causes Of Truck Accidents?
The most common cause, by a very great degree, is the truck driver. Driving a truck is not a glamorous job, and it requires long periods of separation for those drivers with a family. They are going hundreds of miles a day can become not only dull but mentally exhausting. And every truck driver is aware that any accident involving a large truck with tons of cargo can be horrific. Most experts list the following driver factors as common causes of truck wrecks.
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Poor Driver Training and Supervision
- Improper Cargo Loading
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS)
Some years ago, a large study was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The study was designed to understand the reasons behind severe and fatal crashes involving large trucks. It was a very comprehensive study or examination of truck crashes, and the results have been widely quoted in the media and the industry. The three summary categories of causes or critical reasons for truck crashes are:
- Driver 87%
- Vehicle 10%
- Environment 3%
The most crucial cause is the truck driver. The LTCCS further examined the critical reasons behind the truck drivers’ performance leading up to the crash. The four most crucial driver failures are:
- Non-Performance – This includes falling asleep at the wheel, alcohol and drug use, and medical conditions such as a heart attack
- Recognition – This includes driver distraction by something inside or outside the vehicle and driver failure to evaluate the driving situation and take appropriate action correctly
- Decision – This includes a host of driver decisions such as speeding, failure to judge the speed of other vehicles properly, and driving cautiously on unfamiliar roads
- Performance – For example, did the truck driver exhibit good performance given the situation, or did the driver panic or overcompensate?
Who Regulates Trucking in Texas?
Today the federal agency responsible for the safety of Commercial Motor Vehicles or Large Trucks and Buses in the United States is the FMCSA. They often declare a truck driver or trucking company to be an “imminent hazard” to public safety and can order trucking companies to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle (“CMV”) in interstate commerce.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are the state agencies responsible for commercial trucking traffic in Texas. And the Texas Legislature passed a law in 2019 that allows the state agencies to deny an operating permit to an applicant placed “out-of-service” by the FMCSA, the federal agency responsible for truck safety.
What To Do After A Truck Accident?
- Call 911
- If possible, take videos and photos of the accident scene
- Exchange contact information with any other driver or witness involved in the accident
- Ask witnesses if you can record a video of what they saw
- Visit a doctor if you have any injury
- Call a truck accident attorney
There may be a liability on the part of the trucking company or truck driver, trucking company, or corporation that hired the trucking company. An experienced truck accident lawyer can advise truck accident victims about their rights.
“The federal, state and local agencies are doing their best to make the roads and highways in Texas safe for the public. But there will always be reckless, negligent, and apathetic people in the trucking industry. They should be forced to compensate those injured or killed due to their irresponsible behavior. Sometimes they are sent to prison. But a personal injury lawsuit will force the responsible parties to face a jury and pay for the victims’ medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering. That is my job, to help the victims and families repair their lives and move forward,” stated Mr. Riley.