If you or someone you love has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, then you know how these collisions can cause catastrophic injuries. Since tractor trailers are often several times larger than a typical passenger car, the impact from these collisions can create injuries that are several times worse than a similar accident involving a standard-sized vehicle. Even a minor accident involving a “big rig” can have major consequences, just because of the size and speed of the tractor trailers.
18 Wheeler Accident Statistics
The statistics on tractor trailer injury accidents are nothing less than staggering. Federal highway safety reports show that 18 wheelers are involved in nearly half a million accidents each year across the country. These accidents include 130,000 injury accidents and 5,000 fatalities each year. In 98 percent of the fatality accidents, the victim of the fatality was the either the driver or a passenger in a vehicle other than the 18 wheeler.
The Houston area has a high incidence rate of 18 wheeler accidents, with an average of nearly 15,000 such collisions each year. More than 2,000 of these accidents involve injuries, and nearly 300 involve fatalities. This means that an average of one in seven tractor trailer accidents in Houston result in injuries, and one in 30 result in death.
Causes of 18 Wheeler Injury Accidents
With so many tractor trailer injury accidents each year, no single root cause can be blamed for all of them. Instead, a combination of factors often leads to these devastating accidents. While some of them are unavoidable, such as poor road conditions or inclement weather, many of them can be prevented.
Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers. Drivers of these massive trucks must often undergo weeks or months of training to learn how to handle them properly. However, the growing demand for drivers has placed drivers with poor training or little to no experience behind the wheel. These drivers pose a hazard to everyone on the road, including themselves, and their lack of experience and skill with driving an 80,000-pound truck can lead to devastating consequences.
Drowsy drivers. Truck drivers often put in long hours and hundreds of miles every day. They face tight deadlines to deliver their cargo, so they must push themselves and their trucks to arrive on time. This effort can push them towards driving well past the point that they should rest. In their exhausted states, their diminished reaction times and lack of alertness can cause serious accidents.
Driving under the influence. Truck driving can be highly stressful. Some drivers may turn to alcohol or other drugs to deal with the stress. Just as with drivers of passenger vehicles, these drugs can also diminish a driver’s ability to react to traffic and road conditions. However, when the driver is behind the wheel of a 40-ton big rig, the consequences of even the slightest mistake can be magnified several times over.
Speeding and other violations. Drivers are often under intense pressure to deliver their cargoes to their destinations on time. They may attempt to bend, or even break, the rules of the road to reach the end of their road. They may exceed the speed limit, make unsafe lane changes, or attempt to intimidate other drivers into getting out of their way. This type of aggressive driving is dangerous when drivers of passenger cars attempt it, and the stakes get even higher when the aggressive driver is behind the wheel of a tractor trailer.
Distracted driving. The advent of cellular phones and smartphones has given drivers the means to communicate to anyone, anywhere, at any time. However, they also lead to more distractions while driving. Emails, text messages, and social media notifications can draw a driver’s attention away from the road. Even a second’s distraction can be the difference between a smooth ride and a collision, so a distracted 18-wheeler driver is a dangerous driver.
Poorly maintained trucks. When trucks are not on the road, the drivers and the trucking companies don’t make money. This fact can push both drivers and trucks onto the road before they’re fully ready. Also, maintaining and repairing trucks costs the company money, so they may see a financial incentive to put a truck on the road and ignore potential mechanical problems, such as worn brakes or unresponsive steering systems. When a trucking company puts an unsafe truck on the road, they endanger their drivers and other vehicles.
Why You Need An 18 Wheeler Injury Accident Attorney
Any accident involving an 18 wheeler is often much more devastating than one involving a passenger car. These accidents can also be much more complicated from a legal standpoint. While the parties in passenger car accidents are typically just the drivers themselves and their respective insurance providers, an 18 wheeler accident often involves the drivers, the trucking company, their insurers, and their attorneys.
These attorneys will do everything in their power to protect their clients’ bottom lines. In some instances, they may offer a settlement for pennies on the dollar for a victim’s injuries, just to avoid a lengthy and costly court battle. Since may victims are also enduring financial stress on top of their injuries, they may be tempted to take the settlement, figuring that a little something is better than nothing.
At Simon & O’Rourke Law Firm P.C., we believe in fighting for our clients. We work hard to make sure that you get as much money as you deserve for your injuries. Since we understand your financial situation, we also work on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid when we win money for you.
If you have been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, our truck accident injury attorneys are here to help. Let the lawyers and staff at Simon & O’Rourke fight on your side in your truck accident injury lawsuit. We will strive for making sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, as well as for your living expenses. Call or email us to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you today!