Driving a truck is a difficult job that carries daily risk, both to truckers and other motorists in Texas and across the country who share the road with them. The handling of an 18-wheeler is rigid and hard to maneuver. The massive weight of the vehicle requires drivers to brake far in advance of a stop, so they are prone to jackknifing under slippery road conditions or when forced to stop suddenly.
Because the average car weighs about 3,000 pounds and a fully loaded semi can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, in a collision occupants of the smaller vehicle will likely not come out unscathed. In fact, accidents involving trucks often occur at higher speeds, making the impact much greater. As cars are lower to the ground, a collision can lead to severe neck and head trauma if the car slides under the truck.
High-speed collisions also frequently cause vehicle fires, and the greater weight of a truck and larger fuel tank make post-crash fires much more likely for large trucks. When trucks are carrying petroleum, industrial chemicals or other hazmat, a collision can also cause severe secondary injuries or death in a post-collision fire.
Causes of truck accidents
Although large trucks only make up about 4% of all vehicles on the road, they are involved in 10% of highway deaths. A majority of these trucks were tractor-trailers, and more than 70% of the fatalities were the occupants of other vehicles.
In 2017, truck driver errors were cited in a third of all truck wrecks. Some of these common driver errors include:
- Not yielding the right of way to another driver
- Distraction or inattention
- Drowsy or otherwise impaired driving
- Careless, reckless or aggressive driving
Dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident
An accident can happen in an instant, but the financial and emotional injuries that result from a catastrophic wreck can take years to heal. Crash victims will have to deal with medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as lost wages, and getting insurance companies to pay claims promptly places an even greater burden on victims and their families.
If the accident was due to the negligence of another driver, it is possible to pursue a claim for damages. If the commercial truck driver works for a shipping or trucking company, the employer or other third-party entities may share liability. For residents of Houston and surrounding areas, it is essential to seek experienced and compassionate legal representation that will help you pursue full compensation for your injuries.