Truck accidents are some of the most destructive motor vehicle collisions on Texas’s roads. Every year, thousands of victims lose their lives in accidents involving commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2020. Understanding the most common causes of truck accidents in Texas can help keep you safe from this type of disaster.
Drowsy Truck Drivers
Fatigue among truck drivers is so common that federal laws are in place that require drivers to get a minimum amount of rest on the job. Truck drivers can suffer from drowsiness and fatigue while driving large trucks for many reasons, including:
- Long hours driving alone
- Overnight shifts
- Odd sleeping schedules
- Reversed days and nights
- Trouble sleeping in the sleeper berth
- Medical conditions such as sleep apnea
The FMCSA enforces hours-of-service regulations to help prevent truck driver fatigue. Unfortunately, truck companies often pressure their drivers to violate these regulations to make faster deliveries. This can lead to truck drivers falling asleep behind the wheel and causing serious accidents.
Dangerous Driving Practices
Truck drivers are responsible for safely operating some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roadway. Unfortunately, they can still make many of the same mistakes as other motorists. Truck driver errors, such as reckless driving or traffic law violations, increase the risk of harmful truck accidents. Examples include:
- Following others too closely
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Making illegal turns
- Distracted driving/texting and driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to check blind spots
- Aggressive driving or road rage
Operating a large truck is not the same as driving a standard passenger vehicle. Truck drivers must use the utmost care behind the wheel and obey all relevant laws. They must adapt to the wide turns, long stops and other unique elements of commercial trucks. A negligent or careless truck driver could cause a deadly truck accident. Speak to a truck accident lawyer in San Antonio if you experience a collision due to the dangerous or negligent actions of another driver on the road.
Poor Driver Hiring and Training Procedures
Trucking companies can be responsible for truck accidents in Texas if they fail to hire competent and qualified truck drivers. All truck drivers must have valid commercial drivers’ licenses to operate big rigs in Texas, as well as adequate training. If a truck company attempts to save time or money with inadequate truck driver hiring or training practices, this may contribute to accidents.
Insufficient Truck Maintenance
If an 18-wheeler is not properly maintained, it can encounter problems on the road that lead to accidents. Examples include brake failures, tire blowouts, steering issues, electric failures, and broken headlights and taillights. Trucking companies have a responsibility to properly inspect, maintain and repair their fleet vehicles. Improper and insufficient maintenance can lead to dangerous malfunctions and truck accidents.
Problems With Cargo
Commercial trucks can only carry a certain weight and volume of cargo under federal law. An overloaded truck can be too difficult to drive, turn and stop – increasing the odds of a truck accident. In addition, if cargo in the bed of a truck is not properly balanced, it could shift during a drive and cause a rollover accident. Finally, if cargo is not adequately secured, it could fall off the truck and into the road.
If you or a loved one gets injured in a truck accident in San Antonio, Texas, contact Hill Law Firm for a free personal injury case evaluation. You may be eligible for financial compensation.