Truck accidents caused by unsafe truck drivers are a growing concern.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently seeking input on the best way to determine if commercial trucks are safe to operate on our nation’s roads as part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce the number of truck accidents.
“The Agency’s current SFD (safety fitness determinations) process is resource-intensive and reaches only a small percentage of motor carriers,” the FMCSA stated, according to FreightWaves. “A successful SFD methodology may target metrics that are most directly connected to safety outcomes, provide for accurate identification of unsafe motor carriers, and incentivize the adoption of safety-improving practices.”
What rule changes are being proposed by the FMCSA?
The FMCSA is seeking public input on whether the federal trucking agency should keep its current three-tier rating system for truck drivers or whether the FMCSA should adopt a different system to reduce the number of truck accidents caused by unsafe truck drivers.
As part of this review process, the FMCSA wants input on 12 questions about its current truck driver safety rating system. Such questions include:
- Should motor carriers of passengers be subject to higher standards than other motor carriers?
- Given the importance of driver behavior in preventing crashes, how should the agency incorporate driver behavior data into the SFD?
- Given that unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding and texting while driving, are highly correlated with crash risk, should the safety fitness rating methodology give more weight to (such) unsafe driving violations?
Truck accidents on the rise
The main reason why the FMCSA is considering rule changes has to do with the recent increase in commercial truck accidents nationwide. Between 2013 and 2022, accidents caused by commercial trucks (vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds) were up 40 percent nationwide, according to FreightWaves.
Specifically, commercial truck drivers caused 166,833 accidents nationwide in 2022, according to TruckInfo.net, a website that cited accident data compiled by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Texas has a serious commercial truck accident problem
While commercial truck accidents have been worse overall nationwide in the past decade, the problem is especially bad in Texas. In fact, there were more commercial truck accidents and commercial truck fatalities in Texas in 2022 than in any other state in the country, according to TruckInfo.
Moreover, between 2019 and 2021, Texas had nearly double the number of truck accident fatalities each year compared to California, which had the second-highest statewide death toll for commercial truck accidents, according to Tank Transport.
During those three years, there were 1,863 commercial truck accident fatalities in Texas – 579 deaths in 2019, 568 deaths in 2020, and 716 deaths in 2021, according to Tank Transport. Such numbers should be cause for alarm for any driver in Texas.
Why do so many truck accidents happen in Texas?
Traffic safety officials in Texas and nationwide are studying why there are so many commercial truck accidents in Texas. But in many cases, such collisions occur due to the reckless or negligent behavior of truck drivers and trucking companies. Examples include:
- Trucking companies hiring drivers with a history of causing truck accidents or various traffic violations, including not having a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Failing to properly maintain a truck, resulting in an accident due to tire blowouts, brake failure, and other mechanical problems.
- Reckless truck drivers who speed or don’t follow other rules of the road, including not taking mandatory rest brakes, which often result in tired truck drivers causing collisions.
- Aggressive truck drivers who tailgate, change lanes without warning, or put other drivers at risk on the road for no reason.
- Inexperienced truck drivers who don’t know how to operate a tractor-trailer or another large commercial truck safely.
How can a Texas truck accident attorney help?
If a tractor-trailer or another large commercial truck slammed into your car or your loved one’s vehicle in Texas, you might think you don’t need a lawyer. Insurance companies and the police will take care of everything, right? Wrong.
First, it’s important to understand the scope of a police investigation when it comes to a commercial truck accident. Law enforcement officials are only concerned with whether a truck driver broke any laws when they caused your collision. They’re not concerned with whether you get the money you deserve for your accident-related expenses.
As for insurance companies, they often only care about one thing – paying you as little as possible or nothing at all. That’s why you need an experienced Texas truck accident attorney from Weinstein Law. We can investigate your case, gather evidence in support of your injury claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free consultation. We handle truck accident injury claims and lawsuits in Henderson County and throughout East Texas.