June 7, 2021 | Truck Accidents
Accidents involving large commercial trucks in the state of Texas often result in devastating injuries for victims. This is particularly true for those riding in traditional passenger vehicles, most of which are much smaller than these commercial trucks. Here, we want to discuss the most common causes of truck accidents in Texas. We think that if you are armed with the knowledge of how these accidents occur, you will be better able to take preventative steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when you get behind the wheel.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are strictly regulated by the federal government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules regarding how long truck drivers are allowed to operate each day and during the workweek. In general, drivers are allowed only to operate during a 14-hour window every day, but only after they have been off duty for ten consecutive hours. During this 14-hour driving window, a driver can operate for 11 total driving hours, with various breaks scheduled in between. Drivers are allowed to operate for 60 or 70 hours each week, dependent on whether or not they are using a seven-day workweek or an eight-day workweek.
Drivers and companies who fail to follow the hours of service regulations run the risk of the driver becoming fatigued behind the wheel and causing a severe truck accident.
Impaired driving is not safe for anybody on the roadway, particularly those behind the wheel of vehicles that weigh tens of thousands of pounds. When we are discussing truck driver impairment, we want to first look at the obvious ways that a person becomes impaired behind the wheel – either by alcohol or illegal narcotics.
However, driver impairment can also include the use of prescription medications or over-the-counter medications. In some cases, drivers use prescription sleep medications. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, the reality is that these medications can cause adverse reactions, particularly during driving hours. Any type of driver impairment could lead to significant accidents on the roadway.
According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Vehicles of this size take quite a bit of time to slow down. This is not like stepping on the brakes in a passenger vehicle. When a tractor-trailer driver operates at a high rate of speed, they run the risk of not being able to slow down or stop in the event roadway conditions in front of them become dangerous. When a truck of this size rear-ends other vehicles, the results are often detrimental for people inside those vehicles.
Additionally, large truck drivers must be careful when overtaking other vehicles on the highway (passing other vehicles) to minimize auto accidents. Truck drivers must be incredibly cautious when performing passing maneuvers. Again, the size and weight of these vehicles make it very hard for drivers to adjust to changing conditions rapidly.
It is important for truck companies and drivers to be aware of the condition of their trucks at all times. Federal and state regulations require that trucks be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Failing to do so could result in various mechanical defects that lead to major accidents on the roadway. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include tire or wheel failure, steering system failure, brake failure, cargo hold failure, and more.