While commercial vehicles provide a necessity to our nation, operating an 18-wheeler can be deadly. Nationwide, about 510,000 accidents involving 18-wheelers occur annually. Of those accidents, around 4,500 result in death of the passenger car in a collision at highway speeds.
Common Reasons for 18-Wheeler Accidents
Because a car is so much smaller than a big rig, the brunt of a collision usually falls on the passenger car occupants. Size coupled with weight can lead to totaling or worse for a passenger car. Big trucks can easily weigh 20-30 times more than a pickup truck. Also, because 18-wheelers take much longer to stop, many accidents occur due to driver error during high speed stops on the interstate.
Here are the leading causes of big truck accidents:
- Speeding beyond the speed limit
- Distracted driving, i.e. mobile phone usage, eating, drinking, chatting with passengers
- Failing to yield the right of way to the other driver
- Drowsy driving or driver fatigue
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of intoxicants
- Reckless driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Unsafe roads
- Failing to stay inside the designated lane
- Disobeying traffic laws
Big Truck Accident Facts and Statistics in Texas
Texas leads the nation in fatal commercial vehicle accidents for the last ten years, accounting for almost 14% of the deaths in the U.S. from big truck crashes. Due to the number of miles and types of highways throughout the state, the number of big rigs crossing the nation’s second largest state leads to devastating numbers of accidents.
Highways are particularly more dangerous than urban roads for big truck accidents in Texas. Of the many accidents involving 18-wheelers that happened across the Lone Star State in 2017, 62% were reported on interstate highways, leaving 38% occurring on urban streets.
Despite regulations limiting the number of hours a truck driver may actually drive, fatigue and distractions are often another contributing factor in many fatal crashes. Financial demands may also lead truck drivers to reporting fraudulent logbook hours. These violations have a dramatic impact on the statistics below and can significantly alter the settlement of an 18-wheeler accident.
Texas Leads the Nation in Truck Accidents
In the latest numbers from 2020, there were 513 fatal commercial vehicle accidents in Texas. In those crashes, 581 people died and 1,245 suffered serious injuries. Non-incapacitating injuries or suspected injuries occurred from 7,342 incidents.
Overall, Texas had 32,562 total commercial vehicle accidents in the U.S. Despite having the worst large truck accident problem in America, Texas lawmakers recently passed a law making it harder for a jury to hear about the wrongdoing and safety violations of motor carriers in truck accident injury lawsuits.
Top Big Truck Accident Counties and Roads in Texas
18-Wheeler accident injuries in the Greater Houston area are particularly high. The following counties contribute to the largest injury rates in the state:
- Harris County – 4915 Accidents
- Dallas County – 3735 Accidents
- Bexar County – 2137 Accidents
- Tarrant County – 1781 Accidents
Minor highways accounted for only 15% of fatal big rig accidents in 2020. The most dangerous highways across Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin include:
- Interstate 45 (I-45)
- US 290
- Interstate 10 (I-10)
- US 59
- Beltway 8
- Interstate 35 (I-35)
- Interstate 30 (I-30)
- Interstate 20 (I-20)
- State Highway 360 (SH 360)
- State Highway 183 (SH 83)
- Loop 1604
- Interstate 410 (I-410)
- US 90
- US 183
Meanwhile, the top states behind Texas for fatal truck and 18-wheeler accidents include:
- North Carolina
Why Truck Accident Cases Can be Complicated
When the courts are involved, big truck accident cases can be extremely complex and require a skilled personal injury attorney to navigate. Because the injuries tend to be severe or even fatal, the stake for insurance carriers and trucking companies is significant. Usually, wrongful death cases require exceptional knowledge of the law, even when the trucking company is clearly at fault.
The evidence needed to prove liability requires investigation into the behaviors of the professional truck drivers which can be very extensive. Trucking companies are required to follow rules and regulations enacted to protect the public. A skilled personal injury attorney will know this process through and through so that you or your loved ones can receive the justice you deserve.
Contact Wilson Law Firm | 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney in Dallas, Texas
Given Texas’ 10 year history of holding the record for fatal big truck accidents, it’s never a bad idea to have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side. Dallas County leads the Houston area in big rig crashes, and Wilson Law Firm has over 25 years of experience in the courtroom fighting for fair compensation. Contact Wilson Law Firm at 228-436-6391 for a free consultation.