For the most part, fatal motor vehicle accidents have declined over the past decade. Vehicles come with more safety equipment and when crashes do occur, occupants tend to survive without suffering life-threatening injuries.
There is one state that is actually seeing increases in truck accidents. Texas leads the way in semi truck accident deaths. In fact, the number of fatalities is more than double of those in the second place state, California.
Between 2015 and 2016, overall fatalities from motor vehicles rose by 5.45 percent—from 3,578 to 3,773. This was the highest number since 2003, when 3,822 traffic fatalities occurred.
Between 2009 and 2013, semi truck accidents rose by 51 percent—from 352 to 532. In West Texas, truck crashes rose by 50 percent. They went up by 11 percent in Eagle Ford County and a whopping 47 percent in Midland County. On major highways such as Interstate 20, accidents involving three or more fatalities are steadily increasing.
What is Causing These Fatal Accidents?
What makes Texas so unique that it has more fatal truck accidents than any other state? Here are several factors that contribute to the large number of fatalities:
- Fracking. The oil and gas boom started in Texas in 2008, and fatal truck accidents rose that same year due to the increase in demand. Statistics showed that accidents rose near the Permian Basin and adjacent areas where semi trucks, commercial vans and tanker trucks converged regularly. Companies needed more and more truck drivers, and they ended up with inexperienced drivers who caused numerous accidents.
- Driver shortages. Experienced drivers are leaving the industry to retire or work elsewhere. This is creating a shortage of drivers. Not enough new drivers are joining the industry, so the older, more experienced ones are being pushed to their limits. This causes accidents to occur.
- Lack of safety. As many as 30 percent of Texas’ commercial vehicles should not be on the road due to issues such as bald tires, inoperable lights and defective brakes. Every year, a higher number of trucks fail to meet state and federal safety standards.
- Population. Texas is home to some of the most highly populated areas in the country. With so many vehicles on the roads at any given time, accidents are more likely to occur.
- Geography. Texas’ location in the center of the country means it sees a lot of traffic coming from all directions, particularly the east and west. More than 1 million people work along the Gulf of Mexico, where Texas is located. This makes accidents more likely to occur.
Our Austin, Texas Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help You
If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, it’s important to seek legal help. You and other surviving family members could recover compensation for damages.
The Austin personal injury lawyers at DC Law can help you through your difficult time. Let us assess your case and determine your rights to compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (512) 220-1800.