Texans face serious truck accident risk

Dallas County was second only to Harris County for the most number of 2013 truck accident fatalities in Texas.

Texas residents know that sharing the roads with large commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers is dangerous. That reality is confirmed by statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2013, 536 people were killed in vehicle accidents involving large trucks.

A review of county-specific data shows that only one county experienced more of these deaths than did Dallas County. Information includes the following:

  • In Harris County, 26 truck accident fatalities happened.
  • In Dallas County, 14 truck accident fatalities happened.
  • In Midland and Tarrant Counties, 13 truck accident fatalities happened each.
  • In Bexar County, 11 truck accident fatalities happened.

Webb and Moore Counties each lost 10 people in truck accidents that year.

For Dallas County, the 14 fatalities are concerning even though they represent a lower number of deaths in truck accidents than what occurred in the prior four years. Between 2009 and 2012, Dallas County experienced 16, 18, 20 and 15 truck fatalities, respectively.

Knowing that every life is precious, it is clear that more effort to improve safety on the part of the trucking industry is needed. While some efforts are being made there are complications along the way.

Consensus not reached regarding how to target fatigue

The trucking industry has been divided on how best to reduce truck driver fatigue. Congress has even put a stay on a rule initiated in 2013 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association according to Supply Chain Digest. The rule cut the number of allowable driving hours per week and instituted new requirements for break times. The intention was to reduce fatigue among drivers.

OverdriveOnline.com indicates that if the FMCSA has not collected enough information by the end of September, the stay could last longer than originally planned.

Plan to address impairment underway

While the industry has not yet settled on how to address the issue of truck driver fatigue, progress is being made on an initiative to tackle impaired driving. The Commercial Carrier Journal provides information on a database that will be used to collect specific drug and alcohol data on all drivers.

Before being hired, drivers must pass substance testing. All employers must perform a full review of all database records on drivers. Other reviews will be required on an annual basis.

In addition to this effort, the FMCA will continue to perform substance tests of drivers on a random basis. Bulk Transporter reports this decision was made because the number of tests being failed has increased recently.

Will Texas roads become safer?

It is hard to know at this point how much safer Texans will be due to these efforts. The reality of truck accidents is likely to remain. For this reason, all people should know that contacting a lawyer after a truck accident is an important step toward receiving compensation.