Home Sponsored Content 3 Reasons Texas Truck Crash Numbers Keep Rising

3 Reasons Texas Truck Crash Numbers Keep Rising

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Accidents involving semi-trailers, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial trucks are not uncommon in the U.S. However, Texas is among the states leading the nation in truck accidents, with the numbers rising every year.

According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, fatal accidents involving large trucks, semi-trailers, and tractor-trailers rose from 516 to 562 between 2016 and 2020, with 2019 recording 694 truck accidents. Additionally, the number of serious injury crashes involving large trucks, semi-trailers, and tractor-trailers increased from 1293 to 1378 between 2016 and 2019.

“While drivers are often to blame for traffic accidents, there are many other reasons why the number of truck crashes in Texas keeps rising,” says truck accident lawyer Chad Jones.

Unsafe Driving Habits Picked Up During the Pandemic

Human behavior is mostly to blame for the rise in truck crashes.

In 2020, when COVID-19 was at its peak, we all experienced various movement regulations meant to limit the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, reduced traffic and empty roads prompted the truck drivers left on the road to engage in dangerous driving behaviors such as being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs and speeding.

The frustrations and uncertainties induced by the pandemic also increased stress levels among truckers, forcing them to engage in aggressive driving at the slightest provocation. The sad news is that most of the bad driving habits picked up during the pandemic continue to wreak havoc on Texas roadways even as we return to pre-pandemic traffic activity.

Shortage of Drivers in The Trucking Industry

According to the American Trucking Association, the nation suffered a record deficit of 80,000 truck drivers in 2021 due to COVID-19, aged truckers retiring, and other drivers leaving the industry for personal reasons. This has, in turn, caused a substantial disruption in the supply chain industry, forcing trucking companies to look for short-term solutions.

While hiring younger drivers may seem like a feasible solution, it does not help much. Younger truckers are more likely to engage in dangerous driving habits, which, coupled with their inexperience, could be the reason truck accidents keep rising.

Employer Negligence

Federal law requires trucking companies to impose an 11-hour driving limit within a 24-hour timeframe. Additionally, a 10-hour consecutive break period must precede every shift to ensure a truck driver gets enough rest before hitting the road again.

With the ongoing shortage of truck drivers, the hours of service rule seem to have taken the back seat. In other words, some trucking companies are now imposing unrealistic time constraints on drivers, allowing or encouraging drivers to drive for extended periods than required, or even failing to properly vet or train new drivers as they try to meet increased delivery demands.

Others trucking companies are even skipping inspection, repair, and maintenance schedules to allow their vehicles more hours on the road. While all these measures may seem to help, albeit temporarily, they put truck drivers at great risk and have a role to play in the rising number of truck accidents.

Even more unfortunate is that there seems to be no end to the rising numbers of truck accidents in Texas. However, strict enforcement of trucking laws can help weed out reckless truck drivers and curb employers’ negligence.

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