Despite the desire to reduce the number of 18-wheeler accidents on the highways, it does not seem to be happening.
Unfortunately, even with the latest push to improve big rig safety, there are still far too many devastating accidents taking lives, and often taking them in a grisly fashion. The difficulty is that many passenger vehicles do not seem to understand or appreciate that driving a huge commercial truck is not like driving a smaller car. They are far more difficult to maneuver, do not stop quickly, and cannot see you in certain blind spots.
Most commercial trucks easily weigh more than 80,000 pounds. On the other hand, passenger vehicles may weigh about 3,000 pounds. It does not take too much imagination to realize that 80,000 pounds slamming into 3,000 pounds means a disaster, often one in which someone loses their life. Their enormous weight is why it takes them longer to stop. The forward momentum of that much weigh just keeps going until the brakes kick in.
Another factor that most do not think about is that many truckers are hauling hazardous cargo such as flammable material, making how they drive much more of a safety issue. A truck loaded with gas or other highly flammable materials stands a good chance of exploding if it is involved in an accident. This may mean death in a fire or severe burns and respiratory issues.
But these wrecks are not accidents. Most are caused by decisions made months or years earlier by trucking companies trying to maximize profits. The pressure of an employer breathing down their necks is often another reason why truckers get into accidents. The truth is that many truckers drive for too long, are tired, distracted and not fully alert and aware. So they may drift off behind the wheel.
Truckers are often expected to do their deliveries as fast as they can to make the company money, skip proper maintenance checks to make their trips quicker and falsify log books to show they had the requisite number of sleep breaks, when they did not. Similarly, trucking companies often shirk their responsibility to properly train their drivers or to hire experienced drivers in efforts to save costs. These conditions virtually guarantee an accident waiting to happen.
Even with the latest move in the trucking industry to ban cell phone usage, and calling and texting while on the road, accidents caused by these very actions are still happening. Some truckers, feeling like nothing will happen to them, are still driving while distracted. This is a recipe for an accident.
Trucking accidents may become even more of a problem for residents of Austin and other Central Texas towns. The federal government recently began allowing trucks from Mexico to travel deep into the United States. Many of these trucks, which might pose an even bigger risk than domestic trucks, will be traveling through our area along I-35.
No matter what caused a truck accident that you may have been involved in and no matter where it happened, make the first phone call for legal help to a seasoned Austin personal injury attorney. With their help, you will be able to recover the compensation you need to cope with your injuries. An Austin personal injury attorney’s job is to help protect your rights and help you through the courts to get justice.
Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.