The trucking industry predicts an increase in the number of tractor trailers on the road, along with an increased number of drowsy truckers.
While Texas motorists are used to driving around tractor trailers every day, they may begin to see a growing number of semi-trucks filling the state’s roadways. This increase of commercial trucks may cause the rate of large truck accidents, injuries and deaths to rise. The large truck accident fatality rate has already increased substantially in Texas, jumping from 299 deaths in 2009 to 543 deaths in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These surprising statistics have led many Texas residents to wonder what is causing this incredible rise in truck driver negligence and large truck accident deaths.
As the U.S. economy continues to improve, the American Trucking Association predicts a 23.5 percent increase in the amount of freight that needs to be distributed from 2013 to 2025. This dramatic growth constitutes a need for more tractor trailers to distribute products across the country. Unfortunately, many semi-trucks are not properly cared for. Of the over 10.6 million large trucks navigating the country in 2012, over 20 percent, or 2,145,733 trucks, were removed from service for having too many violations, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Truck driver shortage
Along with a need for more commercial vehicles, there is also a big demand for skilled commercial truck drivers. According to the ATA, there are approximately 35,000 open truck driving positions that need to be filled. Officials state that the trucking industry will need to hire at least 100,000 new truckers every year to keep up with demand.
The current truck driver shortage has placed a significant burden on the trucking industry and other motorists as well. Many truckers are encouraged to remain behind the wheel for extended periods of time in order to meet strict distribution deadlines. When truck operators spend more time driving and less time resting, it greatly increases the risk of accidents involving trucks. In some cases, trucking companies have scheduled truckers in violation of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations, and using drivers who have not been properly trained. In 2012, 4.89 percent of the over three million large truck operators that were actively employed were removed from their positions after they were found driving with too many violations.
The need for legal assistance
Large trucks can cause a considerable amount of damage to smaller vehicles on the road. Whether your car was hit by a trucker who fell asleep at the wheel or a commercial truck that had an equipment malfunction, you may be able to claim compensation for your medical expenses, property damage and lost wages from work. An established injury attorney can help you explore all of your options.