After midnight In Fort Worth, a man was tragically killed on Interstate 35 as he was driving his Toyota sedan. At 12:30 o’clock a.m., a tractor trailer coming down the ramp at Meacham Boulevard ran over his automobile. It is not clear at this time which driver was at fault. Police closed the freeway for four hours to investigate. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the driver.
This reminds me of a tragic case I was just hired on when two weeks ago on the same highway, a man in a Honda was killed and my client was seriously injured when a concrete truck rear ended their vehicles.
Collisions between 18 wheelers and other vehicles are rampant. Driving back from Austin on Friday after a trial lawyers conference, I got stuck in a massive traffic jam on I-35 involving a tractor trailer who was changing lanes. And driving to Dallas on Sunday, my wife and I got stuck in another back up where an 18 wheeler and an pick up truck had collided. I’m sure you’ve seen one of these recently on our Dallas Fort Worth highways.
Why are there so many wrecks with these large commercial vehicles?
Truck Driver Fatigue A Serious Problem On Our Highways
One reason, according to today’s article in the New York Times, is the dramatic rise in truck driver fatigue. Just in June, drowsy driving has already caused fatal crashes in Austin and in two other states. Possibly the Fort Worth crash that happened after midnight is another one.
Over 30,000 people die each year on U. S. highways. Drivers are paid by the mile. The more they drive, the more they get paid. Driver logs can be fudged. Enforcement is lax.
New Federal Rules Curtailing Drowsy Driving Are Beaten Back
Last year, new national rules were enacted that cut the maximum number of hours truckers could drive 82 to 70 hours. Once a driver reaches this limit, he must rest for 34-hours, including two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Truck drivers are prohibited from driving for more than 11 hours a day and must take one 30-minute break. That seems reasonable, right?
Not to the powerful trucking industry, which fought hard to repeal these new regulations. It just got the U. S. Senate to freeze the rules indefinitely.
Safety advocates were appalled. A spokesman for the Teamsters union said that the new rules were vital and that driver fatigue was grossly underreported. Another advocate noted that the recent crash killing a man and injurying Tracy Morgan showed that these kinds of crashes “happen day in and day out.” I blogged about that crash here. Fortunately Tracy is recovering.
It is obviously difficult to know exactly what causes a crash, but a government study of 182 heavy-truck accidents in which the truck driver died showed that fatigue played a role in 31 percent of the cases. This cause was more than alcohol or drug involvement. Drowsy driver numbers are self-reported, leading to them being underreported. What commercial truck driver is going to admit to police and his boss that he had been up all night?
Who Is Responsible in Texas 18 Wheeler Accidents?
Usually one driver is solely responsible for causing a collision. Occasionally both parties share in the fault. In the above scenario, it is not clear at this time if the semi truck failed to yield to the Toyota, whether the Toyota could have slowed or sped up to allow the 18 wheeler to enter, if one or both of the drivers were distracted or drowsy,or whether a combination of factors caused the wreck. A complete investigation must be made. Photographs of the vehicles and the scene, skid marks, yaw marks, debris, eyewitnesses, and accident reconstruction experts will determine liability. A trial may be necessary. occur.
Determining Civil Liability in Shared Fault Accidents
Texas, like many other states, does not prevent an accident victim from recovering for their injuries merely because they are partially at fault. As long as a driver is not found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, he can recover his damages. This is even the case if there are multiple parties whose percentage of fault are less than the accident victims.
How This Law Office Can Help You If You Have Been Injured By An 18 Wheeler
The Law Offices of William K. Berenson has successfully handled a variety of tractor-trailer collision cases. We have represented clients who were rear-ended by 18 wheelers stopped at a traffic light or waiting to turn and the truck driver refused to admit fault. We have also represented clients injured by large commercial vehicles in construction zones.
We are fully committed to helping the victims of accidents get all the medical care and compensation they need so they can rebuild their lives. Our law firm immediately investigates the collision, photographs the vehicles and takes measurements, and interviews the drivers and witnesses so that we can prove the negligence of the responsible parties.
Call us at 817-885-8000 or toll free at 1-800-885-8585 if you have been injured in type of truck collision. We will recover money for you and we advance all case expenses so you are never out of pocket any money for pursuing your 18 wheeler collision case.