Residents in Texas know that they must share the roads and highways with a wide range of vehicle types as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. It is the responsibility of everyone to follow laws and make wise decisions to help keep themselves and others safe. For truckers, there is a set of rules to follow in addition to the traffic laws that govern all other people. These are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and one of the rules focuses on trucker fatigue.
The Hours of Service rule provides parameters around when a truck driver may work and how many hours the trucker may drive each day and each working week. Break times and durations are also clearly specified in this rule. The objective is to reduce instances of fatigue to prevent accidents caused by tired truck drivers.
Fatigue is just one of many factors that may contribute to accidents involving large commercial vehicles. These accidents appear to be a serious and growing problem in Texas. According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatalities in truck crashes statewide jumped dramatically from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, 558 people died in large truck accidents. These fatalities represented 14.7% of all vehicular deaths in Texas that year.
In 2017, there were 3,722 recorded vehicular fatalities across Texas. Of those deaths, 649 resulted from accidents involving semi-trucks or other large vehicles. Those truck deaths accounted for 17.4% of the total accident deaths in the state. This was a higher percentage than in any of the prior four years.