The increased number of truckers on the roads, due to the oilfield boom, and careless truckers pose a risk to other drivers and their passengers.
Serious and fatal accidents involving large commercial vehicles are all too common on the roads throughout San Antonio and near the oilfields. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 3,450 collisions occurred in the Eagle Ford Shale region in 2013, which resulted in serious injuries or death. The increased number of crashes on once quiet rural roads can be attributed, at least in part, to the energy boom. Combined with negligent truckers, the increased traffic on the roads in this region poses a serious risk for other motorists and passengers.
Text messaging an ongoing problem
In general, texting while driving is dangerous for all motorists. However, it can be more hazardous for truck operators because it is more difficult to maneuver and stop large commercial vehicles. Despite a federal law that prohibits truckers from texting while driving, some still use their cellphones when they are behind the wheel.
Text messaging is among the most risky distractions for drivers because it takes their hands off of the wheel and eyes off of the road. According to a News Channel 6 Now report, truckers are 6.7 times more liable to be involved in a collision when they are reaching for their phones, or other devices. As a result, other motorists, passengers or pedestrians could suffer serious injuries or death.
Speed and safe maneuvering
Many commercial vehicles have speed regulators. These devices do not always prevent truckers from driving too fast, however. According to the Utah Department of Transportation, it will take 525 feet for a fully loaded tractor-trailer to stop when driving at a speed of 65 miles per hour. As such, commercial truck operators may be unable to stop abruptly or maneuver out of the way of other vehicles, even when traveling at the posted speed limit.
Unlicensed and unregulated
Often, people complete training programs when obtaining their commercial driver’s licenses. These courses generally provide valuable knowledge and experience for the safe maneuvering, operation and care of large commercial trucks. Unlicensed drivers, however, do not typically have this type of training. Therefore, they may not be aware of how to properly respond to situations and hazards on the road.
Furthermore, registered trucking companies are subject to government oversight and regulations. Unregulated companies may be more likely to use vehicles that have defects or are in disrepair. This could result in a truck’s brakes failing or other system failures at a time when the operator needs them most. As such, a trucker may be unable to avoid a tractor-trailer wreck with serious repercussions.
Working with an attorney
The added numbers of large commercial vehicles on the roads around San Antonio due to the work in the oilfields are enough of a danger to other drivers and their passengers. When truckers are careless, however, the risk of serious injury or fatal accidents may be increased. In these cases, the truck operator or trucking company may be held liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, those who have suffered injuries in such collisions may benefit from seeking legal counsel to understand their rights and options.