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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecent law enforcement operations in Austin have shown that while most people are aware of the laws requiring pulling over for emergency vehicles, very few are aware that this also applies to tow trucks. Drivers are required to either move over or slow down to 20 miles per hour for tow trucks, but Austin police report almost “zero compliance” with this law. If you are ever in an accident involving a tow truck, you would not be barred from recovery solely due to not observing this law. However, it can play a role in reducing a defendant’s liability, so it is important to be aware of all the information in your case.

More Dangerous Than Believed

Statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), show that tow truck drivers are actually in an extremely dangerous profession. Reports released in February 2019 show that tow truck drivers are up to 15 times more likely to die on the job than the average private sector worker, and this manifests itself in a variety of ways. Many accidents occur simply because drivers do not pay enough attention to the road.

If you fail to move over or slow down for a tow truck, and you are stopped by law enforcement, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, usually with a fine of $500 or more, though if you cause an accident or bodily injury, you would then be charged with the appropriate offense (for example, if you struck someone with your car, you would be charged with assault or vehicular manslaughter). If you are struck by a tow truck, your remedy lies in civil law.

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TX crash lawyerRecently, a motorcyclist was killed after becoming stuck under an 18-wheeler on I-35 South. The accident happened near Kyle Crossing, and the highway was shut down for almost two hours while the accident was cleared. This accident, while a tragedy, does illuminate some of the safety hazards present for both truckers and cyclists, especially when traveling at a high rate of speed. If you have been in a crash with a truck or with a motorcyclist, there are certain particular features of that accident that are different than having been struck by another automobile.

High Fatality Rates for Motorcyclists

Because of the sheer lack of protection between a motorcyclist and the road, motorcycle riders have a significantly elevated risk of injury and death compared to automobile drivers and passengers. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that in 2016, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to die in accidents than drivers or passengers in other vehicles - many of the fatalities caused simply by being unprepared to be struck, or to strike something, at such velocity.

Many of the causes of motorcycle accidents do in fact trace back to rider error - in the accident on I-35, law enforcement surmised that the motorcyclist had been speeding and struck the rear of the truck’s trailer without being able to stop. However, in many cases, driver error will also play a major role - for example, many accidents with motorcycles occur because automobile drivers fail to see their slimmer, often darker colored vehicles. This can lead them to turn in front of motorcycles or drive too close to the side of the road, which may crowd out a cyclist.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a multi-vehicle accident closed all lanes of I-10 near the North Frio Street exit, after a box truck entered the freeway and cut across all the lanes of traffic. Only the box truck driver was injured, being transported to San Antonio Military Medical Center in “priority one” condition. The accident could have been much worse and caused many more injuries, given how common fatalities are from accidents of this type. If you have been injured, or you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, know that you have some options as to seeking compensation for your medical bills and other harm you have suffered.

Box Trucks Cause Crashes

Box trucks, also known as box vans or cube vans, factor in many types of accidents and can cause significant injury and death. While any large truck can be dangerous on the road, box trucks, in particular, have a higher likelihood of tipping over than, say, a standard 18-wheeler, because their center of gravity is often different. Rollover accidents occur more often in vehicles where the center of gravity is higher because it takes less force to take the vehicle off its wheels. Blind spots are also more of a problem with box trucks than with other types of larger trucks like semis because very often the ‘box’ is too tall or too broad for the driver to see around it.

While Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics do not distinguish between semi-trucks or 18-wheelers and box trucks, there is no mistaking that large trucks are disproportionately more likely to cause fatalities than crashes that only involve normal-sized vehicles. Deaths in truck- or bus-related accidents rose approximately nine percent between 2016 and 2017, but large vehicles of this type make up less than half the number of cars on the road at any given moment.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a fiery 18-wheeler crash blocked all the lanes of Ben White Boulevard at South First Street, snarling traffic for the morning commute. While no injuries were reported, the truck sustained significant damage after a fuel line was compromised. The fact that no injuries were reported in this type of wreck is remarkable, as crashes involving 18-wheelers are notoriously dangerous. If you are injured in a wreck involving a large truck or semi, you will often have serious injuries and medical bills, and bringing suit against the driver may be a way to seek compensation.

Truck Accidents Are Deadly

The most recent available data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) show approximately 4,500 fatal accidents involving large trucks in that year, with the average fatality count being 1.12 per accident. However, 83 percent of the deaths in 18-wheeler accidents were not large truck occupants - in other words, automobile drivers and pedestrians were the ones most likely to be injured or killed if involved in a crash with a large truck. This is not unexpected; the sheer size and velocity of an 18-wheeler, especially if the trailer is full, far outstrips that of most passenger vehicles.

In Texas, the number of fatalities from large truck-related accidents has steadily been climbing in recent years, to a high of 649 in 2017. While some of this has been due to driver error, such as speeding, driving while distracted or sleepy, and substance abuse, another reason postulated for the rise is the opening of SH-130, with its higher speed limit, which has led to an uptick in traffic-related fatalities in the state in general. 18-wheelers, with their combination of heft and speed, will almost always be dangerous to other vehicles or people on the road if their drivers lose control.

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TX crash lawyerRecently, a man suffered serious injuries in a truck accident on the northeast side of San Antonio after a crash with a cement truck. The man was transported to the hospital by emergency responders in critical condition. At the time of the collision, he was “entrapped,” and emergency responders had to extract him from his vehicle.

This recent collision with a cement truck is not an anomaly—other recent collisions with cement trucks have occurred between San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Austin. At the same time, other serious truck crashes have been reported in those areas and nearby. The Texas truck accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm want to provide you with some additional information about recent trucking crashes and their implications for driving in Texas.

Recent Large Truck Crashes in the San Antonio Area

The cement truck accident serves as a reminder that trucking crashes in Texas are a significant cause of personal injuries and fatalities. To be sure, just two days before that cement truck collision occurred in San Antonio, a 21-year-old San Antonio resident was killed in a crash with an 18-wheeler in South Texas. The 21-year-old fatality victim had been the passenger in a Mercedes-Benz that veered from its lane and crashed into the right front side of an 18-wheeler truck traveling in a southbound lane on U.S. Highway 59.

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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