A man was recently killed in Wise County, near Fort Worth, when his vehicle collided with a truck. The man was thrown from his vehicle and then hit by a semi-truck, resulting in his death. This tragic news is yet another reminder that a semi-truck accident can cause devastating injuries or death. Unfortunately, highways running through Dallas, Fort Worth and across Texas are crawling with semi-trucks, many of which are being operated by drivers that are overworked and improperly trained. Common causes of semi-truck accidents in Texas include:
- Inattentive driving, including using a cell phone, texting, eating, reading, daydreaming: Cell phones and other distractions must be avoided by operators of semi-trucks, which require significantly more attention than other vehicles to operate.
- Driving while fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel: Federal regulations mandate the number of hours that can be driven by commercial semi-truck drivers. Trucking companies are required by federal law to maintain truthful and accurate daily logs which reflect the operator’s duty status, locations, and the daily number of hours spent driving, on-duty but not driving, in the sleeper berth, and off-duty. The failure to do so can result in serious civil and criminal penalties for the driver and the owner of the semi-truck.
- Driving at excessive speeds, or improper speeds considering road conditions or weather conditions: Semi-truck drivers often try to “cut corners” by driving at improper or excessive speeds to reach their destination faster.
- Failing to maintain a safe distance to other vehicles, stop at a red light or a stop sign, or yield to a right-of-way: Semi-truck drivers often fail to recognize how difficult it will be to stop their semi-truck suddenly if traffic conditions quickly change.
- Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs: Semi-truck drivers are prohibited by state and federal laws from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, a 2010 study found truck drivers commonly used drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine. The study reported that harsh working conditions encouraged the use of drugs that allow truck drivers to remain awake and focused for long periods of time.
- Improper loading of semi-trucks: Improperly loaded semi-trucks may make the trailer’s center of gravity too high, making the truck or trailer less stable and more likely to overturn. A trailer that is improperly balanced towards the front or the back may make the semi-truck more difficult to handle, making an accident more likely.
If you or a family member were injured in a semi-truck accident, a Texas personal injury attorney can explain your legal options.
About the author: While my office is located in Fort Worth, I am admitted to practice in every state and federal court in Texas, and I am able to handle semi-truck accident, wrongful death and other personal injury cases in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Burleson, Houston, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, and across Texas. For a free evaluation of your legal matter, call me at 817.908.9861 or fill out the contact form.