Texas roads and highways are filled with large trucks hauling freight from destination to destination as crucial components of America’s supply chain. Their presence is necessary for the benefit of the country’s businesses and families. However, crashes do occur, and the results often lead to catastrophic and fatal injuries.
The Lone Star State has its share of such accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Texas recorded the most fatalities in large truck crashes in 2019. Its 658 recorded deaths in such collisions far outnumber the 385 fatalities that occurred at the same time in California, the state with the second most such deaths. So, what are some of the reasons why these accidents occur?
Negligent trucking companies
Here are among some of the common reasons that truck driving crashes occur:
- Carriers hiring people who should not be truck drivers: Some trucking companies may look the other way regarding an applicant with less-than-stellar credentials. Perhaps they ignore licensing and safety requirements and retain drivers with a slew of violations. Or turn to drivers overly reliant on prescription drugs due to medical conditions, or some who have a history of illicit drug use.
- Inadequate training: In their haste, some truck driving companies fail to provide thorough operational and safety training for their drivers. No other motorist wants to share the same road with a poorly training truck driver.
- Chameleon carriers: To get around government regulation, some trucking companies with tarnished reputations seemingly go out of business. However, they have a surreptitious plan in which they reopen under a new name in order to avoid penalties and fines. The new trucking company is really the old trucking company in disguise. Limiting their road presence is crucial. The S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 18% of new applicant carriers with chameleon qualities were involved in severe collisions compared with 6% of new applicants that had no such qualities.
- Driver fatigue: Truck driving companies often have unrealistic expectations of their drivers. Carriers put them on tight deadlines, encouraging them to hurry and often making them work excessive hours. The occasional result: drowsy driving and increased chances of an accident.
- Equipment failure: Perhaps the truck was poorly maintained and did not undergo regular safety inspections. Defective brakes, steering problems and bald tires may lead to tragedy.
- Improperly loaded trucks: Loading and shipping companies have great responsibility in making sure to properly load the trucks. If loads exceed weight limitations or are improperly balanced, an accident can happen.
Many reasons for large truck accidents lie squarely with the trucking companies that may subscribe to taking shortcuts on safety matters. Their negligence and the negligence of drivers and other parties play a part in some of the most catastrophic collisions.