Many studies about truck accidents cite driver inattention as a primary cause of terrible crashes. Truck driver inattention includes distracted driving, such as the use of cell phones or similar devices behind the wheel, which is illegal under federal trucking regulations.
Inattentive truck drivers are especially dangerous in Texas, where a growing economy puts 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers and other big rigs on the road 24 hours a day. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said in a news release that there were 3,660 traffic crashes in the 26-county Eagle Ford Shale region in 2014 that resulted in 270 fatalities, a 13 percent increase from the previous year. As of June 2015, there had been 1,311 traffic crashes and 95 fatalities in the area.
The truck accident injury attorneys of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., can assist if you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a commercial driver’s inattention. Our attorneys have experience representing South Texas accident victims. We have a detailed understanding of federal rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry. We can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses when a trucker or trucking company causes a serious accident.
Studies Document Inattention Among Truck Drivers
Texas motor vehicle crash statistics for 2014 show 19,933 accidents caused by driver inattention, the leading cause among 21 factors contributing to accidents. Not all of these accidents involved large trucks. But inattentive truck drivers are a particular danger because of the increased damage a large truck can do in a crash.
An 80,000-pound commercial truck traveling 65 mph requires the length of a football field to come to a full stop. It is crucial for a trucker to be fully aware of what is going on in the roadway ahead of them at all times and anticipate changing traffic conditions.
Yet, a recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, found that 71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something that took his attention away from driving.
Another FMCSA study, which examined crashes involving 1,123 large trucks and 959 motor vehicles, cited inattention among the top 10 contributing factors to the crashes studied.
Truckers are inattentive because of distractions inside and outside of their trucks. Distractions inside the cab of a large truck can include:
- Dialing and/or talking on cell phones
- Using dispatching devices
- Reading maps and delivery instructions
- Adjusting the radio or other music players, or GPS devices.
Distractions outside of a truck can include looking at a passing building, billboard, person, or vehicle.
Reports Cite Crashes and Injuries Due to Inattentive Truck Drivers
News reports illustrate the serious harm that an inattentive driver at the helm of a high speed, heavy truck can cause:
- Driver inattention and a trucker failing to heed warning signs alerting him to the reduced height of a bridge under construction in Salado, Texas, in March 2015 led to the death of one man and injuries to three other people, as well as the collapse of the bridge, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
- Police in Wisconsin ticketed a truck driver for inattentive driving after a rollover crash on Main Street in Onalaska left the driver of a car injured and hospitalized in June 2015.
- Inattention was a factor in an accident that left a truck driver injured and totaled a semi-truck and trailer in Washington State in June 2015, according to the Washington State Patrol.
- A truck driver’s inattention and unfamiliarity with traffic patterns led to him slamming into a passenger car and forcing it and its driver off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into the water in 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.
- An inattentive driver and faulty brakes were the probable cause of an accident in which a heavy commercial truck struck a California-bound Amtrak passenger train in the Nevada desert in 2012, killing six and injuring 16, the NTSB said.
We Hold Inattentive Truck Drivers Accountable
If you or a loved one of yours has been injured in a truck accident caused by a trucker who was not paying attention, you deserve to be compensated for your medical bills and other losses, including your pain and suffering.
Crashes caused by inattention or distracted driving have a tell-tale sign: lack of braking or braking too late for the vehicle to stop. In addition to measuring skid marks and surveying damage at the accident scene to calculate braking, a commercial truck’s electronic data recorder (EDR or “black box”) provides precise data from just before an accident. A truck’s black box recorder provides information about braking, acceleration, wheel speed and RPM, use of cruise control, and more.
An attorney engaged after a truck accident can seek a court order to compel the trucking company to turn over EDR data, the trucker’s driving logs, maintenance records and other relevant information. We also can subpoena the trucker’s cell phone records to check for activity just prior to a crash that may reveal driver distraction.
The personal injury attorneys of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to gather the necessary evidence to substantiate your claim. From there, we work to negotiate an appropriate settlement for you or take your case to court if necessary.
Contact Our Texas Truck Accident Lawyers Today
The attorneys of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., can help you and your family if a truck accident has caused serious injuries or the death of a loved one. We can explain to you how Texas truck driving laws work. For help in holding a distracted or otherwise inattentive truck driver accountable, contact us at our Corpus Christi office at 844-426-5000 or our McAllen office at 844-426-5000.
- Texas Department of Transportation – TxDOT Urges Drivers to Exercise Caution in Eagle Ford Shale Region as Deadly Crashes Rise
- TxDOT – Texas Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics – 2014: Crash Contributing Factors
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – The Large Truck Crash Causation Study: Analysis Brief
- FMCSA – CMV Driving Tips: Driver Distraction
- Statesman – Report: Driver was inattentive in Salado bridge crash
- Yakima Herald-Republic – Inattention blamed for Vantage truck accident
- Baltimore Sun – Trucker’s unfamiliarity with Bay Bridge traffic contributed to crash
- National Transportation Safety Bureau – Driver inattention and poorly maintained brakes on heavy truck led to collision with Amtrak train in Nevada desert