When you drive on Texas roads, especially the highways, you are likely confronted with the potential threat of a crash with an 18-wheeler on a constant basis. Such nervousness when driving near such huge machines is understandable; given their size and weight differences, the potential for disaster if an 18-wheeler slams into a sedan is pretty high. After all, depending on the load, some trucks can weight as much as 40 tons, which is 80,000 pounds. They can also be as long as 70 feet, which means they take up a lot of space on the highway, thus making smaller vehicles feel a lot more vulnerable.
Large Trucks Happen Far Too Often
Despite the high level of skill of most c0mmercial truck drivers, however, commercial truck accidents can occur can and do happen more often than many people think. According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 4,136 fatalities from crashes with large trucks in 2018. Of that number, 67% of the victims were car drivers and passengers, while 15% of them were pedestrians, motorcyclists or bicyclists. And Texas led the country in fatalities from large truck crashes the same year.
As one can see when they drive anywhere in San Antonio or Bexar County. The fact is, every large population center has its share of bad or inattentive drivers, especially in the days of the cell phone. A recent study ranked the top 15 cities in Texas with the worst drivers, and San Antonio ranked #13, with the likelihood of a driver having an accident sitting at 24.2%, statistically speaking. San Antonio’s accident rate has been increasing every year lately and now can expect more than 37,000 every year. According to TxDOT, Bexar County had the third-highest number of total crashes in 2016, rivaled only by Harris and Dallas County. Roughly 88% of the Bexar County collisions occurred in San Antonio.
For example, just this month, a 19-year-old woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash involving a panel truck near the intersection of Culebra Road and Micron Drive. She was negotiating the intersection when the truck came out of nowhere and crashed into the SUV she was driving. The driver of the white truck was later identified as 28-year-old Erick Eduardo Casas, who was determined to be intoxicated at the scene. He was then arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Many Causes of Truck Accidents are Unpredictable
There are many causes of truck accidents these days. Most truckers are working for someone else, which means the companies they work for are usually responsible for the actions of the driver who causes an accident. There are many ways to hold a trucking company liable if their driver is negligent and causes an accident. They may also be found liable for any of the following, depending on the circumstances:
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failure to verify proper licensing or certification
- Failure to train drivers properly
- Failure to maintain vehicle
Those can be in addition to causes more directly related to the driver, like driver fatigue, driving under the influence, driving while distracted, reckless driving, and improper cargo loading, al of which are quite common causes of truck accidents.
As noted, because of the size difference between large trucks and most passenger vehicles, truck accidents can lead to injuries and damages that are far more severe than crashes involving smaller vehicles. Those injuries can include traumatic head and brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, and neck and back injuries, but they can also lead to spinal injuries and even paralysis.
A Fear of Truck Accidents May Be Rational
Driving adjacent to one of the thousands of 18-wheelers on Bexar County and San Antonio roads can be disconcerting at times. It is, after all, quite difficult to know the quality of the driver sitting behind the truck’s wheel and whether he’s been driving for several days, in violation of commercial driving limits. It’s also impossible to predict when a truck’s tires might have a blowout, or when a haul might shift and cause the truck to lose balance, to the point that a driver might lose control.
The other drivers on the road also have no way of knowing whether a trucking company is following the regulations put in place to address the inherent hazards involved with driving large trucks and which companies may have decided that it was worth saving a few bucks by working their drivers longer than experts recommend.
According to San Antonio truck accident statistics, commercial vehicle accidents have been on the rise for years. As we have seen, San Antonio ranks among the highest in the state when it comes to .the number of collisions, injuries, and deaths in the state. And with the city’s ever-expanding population, it seems unlikely that such a trend will reverse itself anytime soon. So, be careful when driving around trucks. Trucks are potentially dangerous and 18-wheeler accidents happen more often than you think.