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TX accident lawyerRecently, the northbound lanes of I-35 were closed for several hours after a crash involving a semi-truck. The blockage lasted from mid-morning to early afternoon, and while no injuries were reported, many accidents involving semi-trucks can yield very serious injuries. If you have been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you need an attorney who is experienced in this type of case to help you try and recover for the harm you have suffered.

Causes and Effects

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s statistics show that the total number of fatal crashes involving large trucks has steadily increased between 2009 and 2017, though the most recent available totals are still lower than the 20-year high from 2005 (over 5,200 fatal wrecks). The total number from 2017 was 4,889, but it should be emphasized that these are only the fatal wrecks that have been reported to law enforcement, and it is not uncommon for rural accidents to go unreported in some states.

There are several reasons for this statistical trend, but much of it can be explained by the tendency of semi-truck drivers to push the proverbial envelope - while the FMCSA propagates regulations for truck drivers, such as the number of hours one should drive or the number of miles one can go without maintenance, time is money. Very often a trucking company will try and compel their employees to drive longer hours or otherwise bend the rules so as to make more deliveries at a quicker pace. Lack of sleep or maintenance are both major factors in the likelihood of a truck causing a wreck.

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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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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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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerSome of the most unusual crashes can occur on Texas highways, but regardless of their rarity, they can cause real issues for commuters and other drivers. Recently, a semi-truck carrying a load of avocados overturned on I-35, near Oltorf Street in Austin. The driver allegedly struck a cement barrier on the edge of the road and lost control. Neither the driver nor anyone else was injured, and no other vehicle was involved, though the road was closed for most of the night, including part of the early morning rush hour. While thankfully there appear to have been no injuries in this particular crash, semi-trucks do cause a large proportion of accident injuries and fatalities in any given year.

Texas Highways Require Caution

A large amount of U.S. shipping goes through Texas, and a large amount of that goes by road. Semi-trucks are common sights on Texas highways, and while the majority of their drivers operates their vehicles in a safe manner, their sheer numbers merit caution for cars and other smaller vehicles. 2017 statistics show 5430 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in Texas, of which approximately 10 percent were trucks. However, the percentage of fatalities in those accidents were markedly higher than those in accidents not involving trucks.

The reasons for such an elevated number of accidents and higher percentage of fatalities when compared to car-only accidents are many, but size plays a role. A semi-truck, especially when it is carrying a load, as the truck on I-35 was at the time, outweighs most other vehicles on the road by more than double, and if the driver loses control, the damage can be devastating. This also ties into the fact that a truck’s reaction time will generally be slower than that of an auto driver, thus leaving less time to brake or take other evasive measures if an accident seems imminent.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerWhen a person is involved in a truck accident, there are multiple potential reasons why it might have happened. Many of them can be attributable to driver error, meaning that the driver is the one who should, in theory, be liable. However, a truck driver may not always have the funds to be able to meet the amount of a jury award. It begs the question of whether it is worth the time to sue the driver or to seek compensation elsewhere.

Causes of Truck Accidents Are Disparate

Recent available data shows that approximately 4,400 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents nationwide in 2016, with as many as 73 percent of those crashes being at least partially initiated by encroachment into the truck’s path. However, if one breaks down those stats, one will see a host of different events that may play a role in truck crashes - distraction, substance abuse, reckless driving, lack of sleep or otherwise poor reaction times, and so on. In addition, there are multiple other potential causes that can be attributed to other actors besides driver error, such as poor road maintenance.

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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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