Houston, Texas is the fourth most populous city in the United States. Harris County is the third-most populous county in the United States. In addition to being highly populated, Houston and Harris County are also large and sprawling, home to a variety of freeways, highways, and interstates frequented by large trucks and other commercial delivery vehicles engaged in interstate commerce. Most trucks traveling across the southern part of the country have to pass through Texas to get to their final destination – and a good portion of them go through Houston, putting those on the roads in our city and the surrounding areas particularly at risk for fatal truck accidents. For many, their destination for their deliveries is in Houston itself, sending these large dangerous big rigs onto our local streets and roadways. In addition to highway and freeway transport and local business delivery, trucks travel in and out of the Port of Houston on a daily basis, picking up and delivering large, heavy cargo containers holding a variety of materials, some very dangerous.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that close to 4,000 truck accident fatalities and 95,000 injuries from truck accidents occur every year. Our nation’s ever-increasing reliance on the trucking industry comes at a cost to truck accident victims, including truck drivers themselves.
Common Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents in Houston
Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles, truck accidents more often result in fatalities among passenger vehicle occupants. In Texas in 2020, there were 513 fatal truck accidents, resulting in 581 deaths – the majority of those deaths occurred in Harris County. Texas is home to the largest oil and gas production in the country and home to 30 operating refineries, which require various types of trucks throughout the processes involved, from extraction to delivery.
The most common causes of fatal truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Truck driver fatigue or drowsy driving
- Speeding and otherwise disobeying traffic laws
- Impaired driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Truck equipment defects
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Improperly maintained commercial vehicles
Large trucks are huge, complex vehicles. Tractor-trailers can reach lengths of over 60 feet and can weigh up to 88,000 pounds fully loaded. The size and weight of big rigs make the force of impact of a tractor-trailer extremely powerful and thus much more likely to cause fatalities among drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. Also, since trucks are often traveling at highway speeds, they need around 400 feet or more of braking distance to be able to come to a full stop. As you can see, a large commercial truck can easily become deadly to others on Texas highways and streets. Houston fatalities involving big rigs are almost double that of the next closest state.
Tips for Houston Drivers Sharing the Road with Large Trucks
While many commercial vehicle accidents are unavoidable due to the data listed above, Houston drivers can take the following steps to help keep themselves and their passengers safe while sharing the roads with big rigs:
- Maintain a safe distance between your passenger vehicle and any 18-wheelers or other large commercial trucks
- Understand where truck blind spots may be and try to stay out of them
- Use your turn signal every time you change lanes or exit
- Avoid engaging in distracted driving behaviors
- Slow down in bad weather
- Do not tailgate a big rig
- Always pass on the left as the blind spots are less on that side
- Dim your brights if you’ve put them on while driving at night or in bad weather as they can blind a truck driver
Sharing the road with large trucks is something Houston drivers do almost every time they travel on our local roads and freeways. Learning to drive safely with semi-trucks on the road can help prevent dangerous roadway accidents.
Experienced, Successful Houston Truck Crash Lawyers
Hiring a Houston truck accident attorney gives victims and their families the ability to take care of what matters most: medical care and rehabilitation for the injured and/or mourning those that may have been lost in the crash. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will build a thorough, detailed case by gathering evidence and will handle all communications with the insurance companies and their attorneys.
The attorneys at The Krist Law Firm have successfully handled large and complex trucking accident cases since 1968. Our firm’s name recognition, award-winning results, and success rate all make us the right choice for your family if a loved one is injured or killed in a collision with a commercial vehicle. We offer free consultations with no obligation and you will owe us nothing unless we are able to recover financial compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today via our contact form or by phone at 281-306-5723 for more information on how we can help you.