Alarming new statistics have once again revealed that large truck accidents are spiking across the country and especially in Texas. According to a recent report published by Forbes, there were more than half a million large truck accidents nationwide in 2022. In fact, large truck and 18-wheeler accidents increased by 26% from 2021 to 2022. Along with this dramatic increase in big rig collisions comes a troubling spike in truck accident deaths and injuries.
“It jumped from 4,200 killed in truck crashes in 2021 to 4,700 in 2022,” says Eric Teoh, the director of statistical services at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Here is a closer look at these frightening new statistics and what they mean for our already dangerous Texas highways and roads.
Speeding and Distracted Driving Are Leading Causes of Fatal Commercial Truck Accidents
Leading causes of deadly large truck accidents include speeding, impairment, and inattention. An estimated 7.3% of fatal truck accidents involve a driver going in excess of the posted speed limit. Impairment and inattention each account for 5.2% of deadly collisions involving large trucks and 18-wheelers.
Impairment and inattention includes behaviors such as:
- Cell phone use
- Eating behind the wheel
- Alcohol impairment
A professional truck driver interviewed about the Forbes report also takes issue with the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) — a device connected to the truck’s engine that automatically captures driving data including location, hours driven, miles driven, and speed.
The driver attributes the increase in large truck accidents with the installation of ELDs in many 18-wheelers and says the use of ELDs is causing truckers to race against the clock (i.e. speed or drive for long hours without stopping): “Nobody should be racing the clock unless you’re in NASCAR.”
Semis Cause the Majority of Deadly Truck Wrecks in Texas
A semi-trailer, also known as a semi, is a truck and trailer combination without a front axle. Semis are more likely than any other large truck to be involved in a fatal collision. In fact, these behemoths account for 53% of all deadly large truck accidents in the nation, according to data in the Forbes report.
When large trucks like semis and 18-wheelers are involved in accidents, it is often the other motorists who bear the brunt of the damage. For example, in 2021, 72% of people who died in large truck accidents were occupants in a smaller passenger vehicle.
Texas Continues to Lead the Country in Fatal Large Truck Accidents
Large truck accidents occur more frequently in Texas. Texas has led the nation in trucking-related deaths every year since 2017. Texas is also one of the riskiest states for all types of automobile-related accidents, ranking as the seventh-riskiest state for motorists in a separate Forbes report.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other commercial vehicles were involved in more than 38,621 collisions along the roads and highways of the Lone Star State in 2022, including 612 deadly accidents that left 716 people dead.
While it’s not clear why Texas records so many trucking fatalities year after year, it doesn’t help that Texas is home to four of the most dangerous highways in the entire country, including three interstate highways known for high volumes of large truck traffic. For example, Interstate 45 (I-45) from Houston to Dallas is considered to be the deadliest road in the United States.
What To Do if a Large Truck Hits You in Texas
Being involved in a large truck accident is a traumatic experience. First and foremost, it’s critical that you seek medical attention for your injuries. Even if you think you “feel fine” following an accident, it is important to be seen by a doctor following a collision.
If you are physically able, gather evidence and document the scene of the large truck wreck. Start by taking photographs of the accident scene from multiple angles. Capture the position of all vehicles involved, the damage sustained, any skid marks, road conditions, and any other relevant details. Additionally, take photos of your injuries and document the extent of the damages to your vehicle.
You should also try to collect information from the parties involved, including the truck driver, any witnesses, and members of law enforcement. The types of information you should strive to collect include:
- Contact details
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Any information about the companies associated with the truck involved in the collision
Hiring an experienced Houston truck accident lawyer with a track-record of substantial verdicts and settlements should be your next step. You lawyer will deal with the insurance and trucking company on your behalf, make sure you’re receiving the best medical care, and do everything possible to recover full compensation for your injuries and losses.
Compensation for Injuries and Damages After a Large Truck Accident
Medical bills can quickly add up after a truck accident, especially if you suffered severe injuries. Keep track of all medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation. These costs will be included in your truck accident lawsuit.
In addition, don’t overlook the emotional distress and pain and suffering caused by the accident. It is common to experience anxiety, stress, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event. Seek proper medical and psychological help, and discuss this emotional impact with your attorney to ensure it is included in your claim.
Compensation for these losses and expenses can help alleviate the financial burden and emotional toll caused by the accident and provide you with the resources to provide for yourself and your family.
Truck accident lawsuits allow you to recover two distinct types of damages: (1) economic damages, and (2) non-economic damages
Economic damages include:
- past and future lost wages
- past and future medical expenses, and
- property damage to your vehicle and anything else damaged in the crash
Non-economic damages compensate you for the “human” damages. They include:
- physical pain
- physical impairment
- mental anguish, and
- physical disfigurement
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