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Assessing the Safety of Truck Drivers

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Everyone notices when there is an 18-wheeler on the road because they are massive vehicles that take up about four or five times the space of a car. They are usually restricted to slower speeds or trucking lanes because they can present significant hazards on the road. An accident with one of these behemoths can be devastating both physically and financially, which is why the city of Houston enforces specific rules that govern their safety. 

In this article, we’ll discuss those rules and how Houston, Texas, and America at large are making the roads safer for the average citizen. We’ll present all the statistics about trucking accidents and dissect the procedures Texas uses to guarantee our safety. By staying informed about these massive vehicles, you can protect yourself before an accident occurs. By staying up to date on Texas laws and safety regulations, you can protect your rights and argue for a better settlement in the aftermath of a collision. 

If you need personal advice tailored to the specifics of your 18-wheeler accident case, call DeHoyos Accident Attorneys today. 

18-Wheeler Accident Statistics in the United States

In the United States, 18-wheelers play a crucial role in the economy but also pose significant safety risks on the roads. In 2021, America experienced 523,796 accidents that involved 18-wheelers, which was an increase of 26% from the previous year. 

Large trucks accounted for more than 100,000 severe injuries every year, as well as nearly 5,000 deaths. We’ll talk about the causes of the accidents in a later section, but the vehicle’s cargo did not seem to have as much of an impact on accidents as the vehicle’s location did. Trucks carrying hazardous cargo accounted for only 1% of total crashes, but trucks using rural roads accounted for 55%. 

18-Wheeler Accident Statistics in Texas

Texas stands out for its high rate of truck-related accidents because of our reputation as one of America’s greatest trucking hubs. In 2020, our state had the highest number of fatal 18-wheeler accidents in the U.S., with over 500 deadly crashes. The year 2023 actually saw a concerning rise in truck accidents in Texas, and early estimates indicate a 7% increase in accidents and a 5% uptick in fatalities compared to 2022. This increase is slightly above the national average, which experienced a 6% rise in trucking accidents in the same period.

18-Wheeler Accident Statistics in Houston

Houston is a major transportation and commercial center in Texas, so it has a particularly high rate of 18-wheeler accidents. As our city grew in the last few years, it saw a steady increase in these types of accidents. Houston’s 18-wheeler accidents not only happen more frequently compared to the national average, but they also tend to be more severe. The city experiences a higher fatality rate in 18-wheeler accidents, and many survivors suffer from severe injuries that require long-term care.

Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents 

Now that we know the frequency of 18-wheeler accidents, it’s time we investigate the cause. Accidents can happen for many reasons, but the most common ones are: 

  • Driver Fatigue: Long hours on the road often lead to tiredness. Tiredness reduces reaction time and attention.
  • Speeding: Exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for road conditions can lead to loss of control, especially for large trucks. Truck drivers often feel hurried to meet their deadlines, and poor decision-making can cause accidents. 
  • Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Failure to properly maintain brakes, tires, and other important components can cause malfunctions that lead to accidents. From a legal standpoint, trucking companies themselves can be held responsible for an accident if the vehicle was not properly serviced. 
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Inadequate training can lead to mistakes, especially in challenging driving conditions. Civilian drivers can make things worse by being unaware of a large truck’s movements or its braking capacity. 
  • Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications can impair judgment and reaction times on the roads. Truck drivers are always screened for drug use by their company, but if drug use goes unnoticed, both parties could be held responsible for the damages.  
  • Improper Loading: Incorrectly loaded or unsecured cargo can cause an imbalance and increase the risk of rollovers. If improper loading is found to be a contributing factor, the company that loaded the truck will also be held accountable. 
  • Road Conditions: Potholes, construction zones, and poorly maintained roads can pose significant risks for truck drivers. This is probably the contributing factor that makes rural accidents 10% more likely, as we saw above.
  • Aggressive Driving: Tailgating, abrupt lane changes, and other aggressive behaviors almost always lead to accidents. Aggressive driving can be the fault of the truck driver, the other driver, or both. 

Understanding which factors cause an 18-wheeler accident can help you avoid them. By focusing on your own safety, you can keep everyone else on the road safe as well. 

How Houston Keeps Us Safe: The Truck Enforcement Unit

Established in 1999, the Truck Enforcement Unit in Houston plays an important role in road safety and commercial vehicles. Officers in this unit are certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) through the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS). They have received both state and federal certification to conduct safety inspections on commercial trucks, Hazardous Materials, and Motorcoaches. 

This unit is part of the Traffic Enforcement Division, which conducts a 37-point vehicle safety inspection. If a serious regulation violation is detected, an out-of-service order is issued to the driver. When the vehicle has been repaired or serviced, the driver can continue their work. Additionally, vehicles passing a Level-1 safety inspection receive a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) safety decal, which lets other drivers or inspectors know that the truck currently meets road safety standards. 

Call DeHoyos Accident Attorneys 

If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler in Houston, call DeHoyos Accident Attorneys today at (832) 745-4878. We can explain your rights, help you recover compensation for your injuries, and hold negligent drivers or trucking companies accountable for their actions. Call our Houston office today for personal legal guidance specific to your situation. 



















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