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TX injury lawyerRecently, a man was attempting to cross I-35 near 15th Street in downtown Austin when he was tragically struck and killed by a passing 18-wheeler. Law enforcement has divulged few details as of this writing, only stating that the pedestrian did not survive and that the 18-wheeler driver remained at the scene after the collision, presumably cooperating with the investigation. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, your medical bills can be very serious, and it can make all the difference if you are able to bring suit to try and recover compensation for your injuries.

Multiple Statistics and Causes

18-wheeler accidents are unfortunately too common in the United States, but some states (like Texas) seem to experience more than others, between larger populations and simply having more roads - the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that the state contains nearly 80,000 miles of roadways, whereas a small state like Rhode Island has less than 10,000. Texas roads also boast higher speed limits than many, with the average being 75 mph, but some roads have 80 mph limits - and in one case, I-130, the limit is 85 mph.

In addition to environmental factors, drivers can cause many 18-wheeler accidents (both truck drivers and automobile drivers may be culpable). Underestimating the truck is one of the most common reasons for accidents - for example, following too closely, not giving enough stopping time to a truck (particularly those with three-part brakes), and driving in a truck’s blind spots. Other common factors that either cause or contribute to truck crashes are substance use, speeding, and distracted or aggressive driving.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX accident lawyerRecently, a semi-truck overturned on I-10 near Culebra Road, spilling its cargo of wooden boards out onto the roadway. Law enforcement closed several lanes of I-10 at I-35, ensuring that no one had the opportunity to drive over the cargo while the accident - and the boards - were cleared. While as of this writing, no one appears to have been injured in this accident, it is important to be aware that accidents happen due to improperly secured or loose cargo with regularity. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in this type of accident, it can be difficult to determine how best to proceed.

Stakes Are High

Accidents involving road debris are much more common than one might think. A 2016 study from AAA’s Foundation For Traffic Safety estimates that approximately 200,000 accidents occurred between 2011-2014 where road debris was a factor, with roughly 500 deaths occurring and almost 40,000 personal injuries. While many factors might play into how an accident happened, the fact remains that road debris can turn a mild accident into a bad one, and it means drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times.

In general, most state laws hold that no vehicle can drive on a public road if their cargo is not properly secured, because of the potential danger that they would pose to the public. More specifically, federal regulations govern the securing of cargo, and failure to abide by them can lead to serious fines and license suspensions. This is on top of possible civil and criminal liability if the accident is serious enough. The driver of the truck that overturned on I-10 has all this to worry about on top of potentially incurring his own injuries.

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TX injury lawyerThe morning of August 14 saw I-35 near New Braunfels closed, as the brakes of an 18-wheeler caught fire. The truck became stuck, spilling cargo on the road that required several hours to clean up. While as of this writing, no injuries have been reported, it is worth noting that this particular type of crash, which can seem innocuous, can cause severe injury both to the truck driver and to others on the road.

Trucks Can Be Dangerous to All

It is well established that trucking accidents can cause severe injury and death for all involved, and generally do, given the higher weights and potentially dangerous substances that may play a part. The most recent available data reports approximately 4,000 deaths from truck accidents in 2016, but the most important note is that of these fatalities, an astonishing 97 percent of the deaths in two-vehicle accidents of this type (where one was a truck and the other an automobile) were automobile occupants. Trucks simply have the proverbial edge.

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TX truck accidentOn August 9, I-35 near Georgetown saw a severe crash between two 18-wheelers, causing damage but luckily no injuries. The first appeared to sideswipe the second, getting pinned in between it and the concrete guardrail. While it is unusual for two trucks to wind up pinned together, trucking accidents are sadly too common on Texas freeways, especially near major cities such as Austin.

Truck Wrecks Cause More Deaths

While deaths can occur in any kind of auto accident, truck crashes consistently cause more fatalities than car crashes, simply because there is so much more weight being spread around. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for 2016 shows 4,564 fatalities in 2015 resulting from crashes that involved large trucks or buses - which is approximately 5 percent up from the previous year. If an automobile is involved in an accident with a vehicle the size of the average 18 wheeler, it will get the proverbial short end of the stick, even if the trailer is not loaded - but if it is, it may be even more dangerous.

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Texas injury lawyerTexas roads see quite a few big rigs at any given moment. While the majority of truckers know how to operate their vehicles safely and efficiently, a minority will sometimes cut corners in the name of profit or convenience, and when this happens, accidents occur. Several studies have been done in the last few years that indicate that a significant percentage of accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks can be attributed at least in part to truckers’ fatigue and potential mismanagement of their vehicle.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study

In 2015, a major study was commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to analyze patterns in crashes involving large trucks. What the study discovered was illuminating: namely, that most large truck crashes involved multiple factors, and in the majority of the studied accidents, the truck was found to be primarily at fault. When probability samples for the critical reasons for large truck accidents were studied, the driver (either of the truck or of the vehicle crashing into the truck) was found to be at least partly responsible as often as 87 percent of the time.

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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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