In a two-day commercial safety initiative, the Texas Department of Public Safety inspected a total of 8,000 commercial vehicles - and put a quarter of them out of service for safety violations. (Although police typically must have a reason to pull over a motorist for a moving violation, operators of commercial vehicles can be stopped at any point for a check of their paperwork and compliance with state and federal safety regulations.)
Additionally, another 300 commercial drivers were put out of service for violations that ranged from failure to have the proper licensure to failure to abide by federal hours of service regulations.
Remember, this was akin to a "spot check." It's staggering to think of how many dangerous trucks and drivers there are on any given day on Texas roads. And those dangerous vehicles cause real damage.
The Texas Department of Transportation recently detailed statistics for Texas truck accidents (and those involving other commercial vehicles) in 2017. The report found:
- A total of 35,635 truck accidents
- 8,244 possible injuries (1,529 of those serious)
- 601 deaths
Why Trucks Do So Much Damage
Houston truck accident lawyers know well the risks these large commercial vehicles pose to other motorists on the road. The danger has to do chiefly with the size differential between commercial trucks and the passenger vehicles with which they most often collide, as well as the fact that many of these crashes occur on highways, which means they occur at high speeds.
Just this summer, trucking trade publications reported on a $101 million jury verdict in a Texas civil court, one of the largest civil penalties ever handed down in a trucking accident. The defendant in the case was an oil company, not a trucking company, but it had a fleet of trucks it used to deliver sand and other materials necessary for fracking. One of those commercial vehicles rear-ended a man in a pickup truck returning home from church. Although the man survived, he had to undergo surgery and was no longer able to work as a crane operator. The trucker behind the wheel had a history of traffic safety violations that should have invalidated his right to drive for the company, and he tested positive for both methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of the accident.
Where Texas Trucks, Drivers Fell Short During Inspections
Given the enormity of damage these vehicles can cause, it's a responsibility of trucking companies not only to make sure their drivers are qualified, sober, and well-rested but also that the trucks they are using are in good condition.
Most of the trucks that were pulled from service had worn tires, bad brakes, and other safety violations, according to The Star-Telegram. Officers involved with this statewide operation, called Roadcheck 2018, were specially trained in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Safety Regulations and authorized to perform these checks.
Considering how many violations were cited just in this three-day span, it's never been more clear that negligent truckers, and the companies they drive for, should be held accountable. In the event that you or a loved one is injured in a crash, you should speak to an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.