Drive the streets and highways of Texas and it’s obvious that there are many large trucks crisscrossing the roads all over the state. This is especially true since the oil and gas boom, because large trucks are needed to move all of the drilling and fracking equipment around the state and to move the oil and gas that is extracted afterward.
How Many Large Trucks Are On Roads Today?
Large trucks still carry most of the nation’s cargo; about 70 percent of all goods. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are more than 15.5 million large trucks on the road and the trucking industry collects about $255 billion in revenues annually and they pay about $21 billion to trucking company employees, including about 2 million drivers and 9 million support personnel.
To maintain their profits, drivers work long hours, with a typical shift running 11-14 hours, when driving fueling, and filling out paperwork are taken into account. With a large number of trucks comes the potential for a large number of accidents, and like the rest of the country, Texas certainly fulfills its potential.
Trucking Accident Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that accidents with large trucks account for approximately 10 percent of all motor vehicle deaths every year. Of course, it’s usually not the truck drivers who are the victims of these accidents; in 2011, of the 3,373 people who were killed in truck crashes involving large trucks, two-thirds were occupants of cars. Only 16 percent were truck passengers, while another 16 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. In crashes that involved a car and a large truck, 98 percent of all fatalities were in the car.
The danger comes from their design, weight and size. Trucks that are loaded with the maximum 40 tons allowed by law need at least 40 percent more distance to stop than a standard passenger vehicle. And that’s when the road is dry; if it’s wet or icy, even more distance is necessary. Truck drivers must always we aware of their surroundings, which means being as alert as possible.
Because truck driver fatigue is a known crash risk, drivers are limited by NHTSA regulations to driving no more than 11 hours without an 8-hour break, and no more than 77 hours over any seven-day period. Despite the fact that federal and state agencies are supposed to closely monitor a truck driver’s sleep and work shifts, a number of surveys indicate that many drivers violate those regulations and work longer than permitted. Often, when an accident happens, the trucking company’s work logs tell the story of how well the driver obeyed federal guidelines.
Houston Attorney Can Help With Truck Accidents in Texas
If you or someone you know have been injured or killed as the result of an accident involving any type of large truck, contact the Houston truck accident attorneys at Richard J. Plezia and Associates, so that we can evaluate your case and explain your options. It is important to do this quickly, to allow us to ensure that evidence is preserved, statements are taken, and everyone’s rights are protected.