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TX truck accident lawyerIn September, one person died and another was injured after a semi-truck failed to stop at a red light after exiting I-35 in San Antonio. Police have reported that the truck’s brake failure was a factor in the accident. Unfortunately, accidents due to failing or malfunctioning truck equipment are not uncommon, and liability can be complex in these cases. If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by brake failure or improper maintenance, an experienced attorney can help you build the case you need for compensation.

Dangers of Failing Brakes in Texas Truck Accidents

Because of their large size and weight, big-rig trucks often require a longer stopping time and distance even with properly working brakes. At a highway speed of 65 miles per hour, a fully loaded truck can take up to 600 feet to come to a complete stop, and without working brakes, this distance can increase significantly. This can be a major problem on I-35 exit ramps, which often require trucks to decelerate in a short amount of time.

To combat the dangers of failing truck equipment, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies to inspect and maintain trucks regularly to ensure they are safe for the road. They also must keep detailed records of maintenance and repairs performed, and drivers must always ensure their vehicle is safe before driving. Despite these regulations, accidents still happen, and multiple parties may be liable.

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TX truck accident lawyerA recent morning saw a dangerous crash on Loop 1604, near Shaenfield Road, as a truck driver rolled his 18-wheeler after an “unknown vehicle” allegedly cut him off and caused him to lose control. He managed to escape, though he sustained third-degree burns and was airlifted to University Hospital with “life-threatening” injuries. While only the driver of the truck was injured in this accident, sometimes there are many more victims when 18-wheelers crash. If you are ever involved in a trucking accident, the potential for life-changing injury is sadly all too real.

Causes and Effects

Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show that 592 people died in crashes involving commercial trucks or semi-trailers in 2019. This may not seem like many, but the numbers add up nationwide, and the number of serious injuries can be more than twice the number of fatalities in any given year. Large trucks like the one that rolled on Loop 1604 have the advantage over the average driver and vehicle in terms of weight and velocity, and the sheer tonnage involved can lead to potentially life-changing injuries for the accident victim. Truck drivers are actually less likely to be severely injured unless the accident involves an explosion or fire, as the Loop 1604 crash did.

These types of accidents have many causes in common with standard car crashes - reckless or negligent driving, as the “unknown vehicle” apparently did to the 18-wheeler driver, is a common one, though others like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also seen. Though there are a few that are unique to dealing with big rigs - most importantly, that big rig drivers are bound by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its rules, including hours of service and maintenance. Failure to abide by these rules may result in liability.

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TX truck accident lawyerRecently, an 18-wheeler trying to avoid a crash wound up jackknifing on Loop 410, spilling its load onto the highway. The driver crashed into the median after swerving around a vehicle that allegedly had cut him off, dumping the truck’s load of sod onto Southeast Loop 410 and closing the highway for several hours. While no injuries were reported in this particular incident, they very easily could have happened, especially to the driver of the smaller vehicle. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, your injuries are likely severe; seeking compensation for what you have been through may be a good idea.

Causes and Effects

There are countless causes for 18-wheeler crashes. Some can be attributed to driver error, such as speeding, disobeying traffic signals and stop signs, and in particular, driving while fatigued. (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA] has regulations governing worker hours, but many truck drivers ignore them or are told to ignore them, in order to deliver orders more quickly.) Others may be somewhat inevitable, or at the very least, not the fault of either driver in the accident - poor maintenance on an 18-wheeler is a prime example, as the driver may have no idea of a fault in their vehicle unless it is too late.

Truck accidents are disproportionately serious, causing a large number of injuries and fatalities each year - the most recent available data from the FMCSA estimates that approximately 5,000 people died in large truck and bus crashes in 2017, but the total number of crashes involving large trucks and buses was only 4,889. It is perhaps understandable that the numbers would be somewhat skewed, given the sheer size and weight of most large trucks (especially if they are carrying a load).

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IL truck accident attorneySan Antonio law enforcement is seeking a truck driver who fled the scene after causing the death of a motorcyclist, and injuries to several other motorists, in an accident on I-10 one recent night. The truck had been traveling too fast for the flow of traffic and wound up jackknifing across the lanes of I-10 East. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime, but in addition, the families of those injured can bring suit for negligence and wrongful death if they believe they have a case to do so. If you have been injured in a similar case, you have options to try and recover your expenses.

Truck Crashes All Too Common

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics for 2018 (the most recent available data) show that approximately 465 fatal crashes happened on state roads that involved a semi-truck or tractor-trailer that year, and over 3,000 injury-related crashes in the same time frame. This adds up to about 13 percent of all crashes on Texas roads that year. There are trends within these numbers, including a higher percentage of accidents happening in rural areas.

There are also a handful of causes that continue to reappear in police reports. Excessive speeding, use of alcohol or other substances, and poor road maintenance are among the most common, but the most often reported reason for crashes is driver fatigue. Truck drivers are routinely pushed by their employers to drive beyond regulation limits on hours and miles, and the resulting fatigue very often results in accidents.

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TX accident lawyerThe life of a commercial trucker is quite difficult, requiring long hours on the road and in many cases, low rewards. Sometimes, individual drivers or their superiors may drive beyond the hours required, or otherwise try to push the limits of what is acceptable, and accidents can result. While truck drivers are certainly not always responsible for trucking-related crashes, fatigue can play an outsized role in many, not least of all because many truck drivers do not notice it until it is too late.

Employees and Employers

The average driver may think that fatigue on the road is no big deal, given how many drivers may not be at their peak when operating a motor vehicle. However, large trucks have two to three times the weight of an average automobile, and that much weight at speed causes significantly more damage than an automobile does when it connects with a solid object. Fatigue contributes to slower reaction times and to impaired perception that may not even notice another vehicle if visibility is low.

Truck drivers deserve rest and recuperation time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published what are called Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that commercial truck drivers are required to follow, so as to try and cut down on danger to both the drivers and to other motorists on the road. FMCSA statistics estimate that roughly 15 percent of truck crashes, particularly in the nighttime hours, were at least partially caused by driver fatigue or lack of sleep. In addition, the law requires that drivers log their hours, but many routinely try to fudge the numbers so as to drive longer and deliver orders more quickly.

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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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