You guessed it — Texas
Why do we manage to win the top spot in every category, year after year? And what are we doing about this horrific problem — if anything?
The latest available Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014” statistics show that no other state comes close to Texas in these statistics. The crash data covers the decade ranging from 2004 to 2014.
Texas shockingly took the top spot every single year in every single category.
In 2014, the last year that tractor-trailer crash statistics are available,
- 481 fatal tractor-trailer crashes in Texas had at least one fatality
- 553 total fatalities resulted from Texas tractor-trailer crashes
- 101 tractor-trailer deaths in Texas occurred from single-truck crashes
- 380 fatalities resulted from multiple vehicle crashes in Texas
There is no reason other than 18 wheeler driver and company negligence that the number of tractor-trailer crash deaths increased by 77 percent in Texas since truck crashes hit a statewide and nationwide low point during the study period in 2009.
Across the United States, the number of fatalities increased from 3,211 to 3,744, only an increase of 17 percent.
What’s going on out there?
Many of the same culprits were to blame for the 2014 crashes, including driver errors and vehicular malfunction. A whopping 87 percent of tractor-trailer wrecks were caused by driver errors and 10 percent resulted from truck malfunction.
What these statistics say is that most tractor-trailer crashes can be prevented if the driver acts responsibly and the trucking company maintains its fleet in good repair, hires competent drivers, trains and supervises them properly, and fires bad drivers as soon as it is apparent that they are a danger to other motorists.
The FMCSA lists the top 10 factors in tractor-trailer wrecks as
- Brake failure
- Traffic jam caused by previous crash or heavy traffic
- Impairment by prescription drugs
- Speeding or travelling too fast under the road conditions
- Lack of familiarity with the roadway
- Problems on the roadway
- Issues with stop made at traffic light, signs or crosswalks
- Impairment by over-the-counter drugs
- Inattention and distraction
- Driver fatigue and sleeplessness
Other factors cited in the tractor-trailer wreck report include tire failure, tailgating, jackknifing, load shift, illegal drugs, alcohol and pressure on the driver by its trucking company employer.
Holding drivers and trucking companies responsible for truck crash injuries
The statistics don’t lie. Drivers and trucking companies can do more to protect motorists from tractor-trailer wrecks. In addition, lawmakers can do more to regulate sleep, phone use, texting, speeding and trucking corporation liability. When they fail to live up to their duties, personal injury lawyers like Berenson Injury Law holds them accountable.
The best sticks to making our highways safer are increasing law enforcement and taking the drivers and their employers to court.
Let’s hope that Texas’s number one ranking in car and tractor-trailer accident deaths falls. Our lives depend on it.