Texas Leads Nation in Fatal Truck Accidents
On January 7th, 2014, an 18-wheeler accident on I-35 scattered utility poles across the interstate. Drivers of both vehicles involved in the accident were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. 18-wheeler accidents occur frequently in Dallas, Odessa-Midland, Lubbock, Tyler, Houston and all throughout Texas.
The great state of Texas is one of the largest in the country. We also have the most miles of highway of any state in the United States. There are nearly 80,000 centerline miles of road. If you stretched all the roads in Texas out into a straight line, the roads would wrap around the whole Earth almost four times. We often take for granted how lucky we are that all areas of the state are accessible by roadway. Not only does it allow us to travel to visit friends and family without difficulty, it ensures that commerce flows easily. There are very few remote towns and communities left that spend days waiting for supplies to come in. However, these amazing roadways do come at a cost beyond just the price of construction and upkeep.
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Because Texas has the second largest population and the most roadways, there are a large number of 18-wheeler trucks on our roads. Like mentioned above, this is mostly a good thing. Food and goods are transported easily from place to place, keeping the economy going and satisfying the basic needs of the population. However, because there are more 18-wheelers on the road, that means there are many accidents involving these large rigs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas frequently leads the nation in fatal accidents involving large trucks. In 2010, there were 377 fatal accidents involving large trucks, and 352 of those accidents involved multiple vehicles. Fifty of these accidents involved a truck that “jackknifed.” A truck jackknifes when the driver loses control and the truck folds into itself, like a pocket knife that shuts. These jackknifed trucks almost always end up horizontal across multiple lanes of traffic, posing a huge danger to other drivers.
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An 18-wheeler carrying a full load traveling 70 miles per hour will strike an object with around 40 times more force than a normal car traveling at the same speed. As a result, accidents involving 18-wheelers are almost necessarily more devastating than those involving traditional cars. Further, when designing the safety features on cars, the designers plan for accidents involving cars of comparable size, not for accidents with much larger vehicles.
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There are many reasons why an accident with an 18-wheeler could occur. The driver may not have been paying close attention. Maybe he or she was on the phone at the time of the accident. Maybe the truck company did not properly maintain the truck. Perhaps the driver did not compensate well enough for his blind spot. A skilled attorney will know what possible causes to look for and will help you prevail on your claims.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, please contact one of our experienced and skilled truck accident attorneys for a free consultation.
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