That’s almost two people per day on the state’s highways and streets for 2021. Texas runs on commercial vehicles. Modern life would be difficult, if not impossible, without them. But that doesn’t mean commercial truck drivers get a pass when negligence causes an injury or death.

Death and Serious Injuries by the Numbers

How big a deal is Texas commercial truck accidents? The Texas Department of Transportation reports the following number of fatalities and suspected severe injuries in the state for the following years:

2019 2020 2021
Fatalities 616 580 705
Suspected Serious Injuries  1,471 1,245 1,708
Total Crashes 39,256 32,580 38,149

Here are the numbers for Harris County:

2019 2020 2021
Fatalities 34 46 44
Suspected Serious Injuries  124 121 149
Total Crashes 6,416 4,923 5,743

Texas has the second-highest population in the US, behind California, and it’s got the big truck accident statistics to match. 

Though there were about 1,100 fewer truck accidents in 2021 compared to 2019, there were 89 more fatalities last year. There’s also a dramatic decrease in accidents during those two years in Harris County, but deaths increased by nearly a third. Suspected serious injuries also sharply increased statewide and locally.

Why Do Commercial Trucks Crash?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) studied about 120,000 large truck crashes from April 2001 to December 2003. They found they usually involve two or more vehicles.

Issues that lead to crashes may happen hours, days, or months before the accident. They include:

  • Driver training and experience
  • Vehicle design and manufacture
  • Highway condition and traffic signaling
  • Weather conditions

Other reasons may turn up just before a crash, like a sudden decision to turn left, misjudging distances, a tire blowout, or a distraction by a smartphone. Other driver issues include drinking alcohol, fatigue, and speeding.

The FMCSA lists the top critical events leading to commercial truck accidents:

  • Driving out of the travel lane into another lane or off the road – 32%
  • Loss of control caused by traveling too fast for conditions, shifting cargo, vehicle systems failure, bad road conditions, or other reasons – 29%
  • Rear-ending another vehicle in the truck’s lane – 22%

The agency also compiled the top reasons why these crashes occurred. Vehicle problems caused about ten percent of the accidents and the weather three percent. Drivers caused the rest of the accidents (87%) of the time because of:

  • Non-performance – 12%
  • Failing to recognize what’s going on – 28%
  • Poor decision-making – 38%
  • Poor performance – 9%

Often multiple events combine with more than one reason to result in a commercial vehicle accident that can cause severe and fatal injuries.

What Injuries are Caused by Commercial Truck Accidents?

Injuries from vehicle accidents vary depending on many issues. The angle at which the vehicles hit each other, their speed, and how much energy your vehicle absorbs all play a role. Commercial trucks are dangerous because they’re far heavier than passenger vehicles. 

A tractor-trailer can weigh about 80,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds. If it’s going fast enough, a commercial truck could crush a car, seriously injuring or killing everyone inside because of all the energy absorbed in the crash.

A commercial truck accident victim could suffer:

  • Broken bones, spinal, head, and internal injuries
  • Burns due to a vehicle fire
  • Soft tissue injuries that may cause chronic pain and physical limitations

You may suffer short or long-term disabilities. The trauma and shock of the accident may also result in emotional and psychological challenges.

Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you’re in an accident with a commercial truck or bus, contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. as soon as possible. No matter who was at fault or how you’re involved, get professional legal help immediately.

After your medical needs are addressed, hiring a team of truck accident lawyers should be next. A skilled truck accident attorney can investigate what happened, determine who’s at fault, handle your insurance claim, advise you on your options, and evaluate your legal case.

The earlier you call, the more help we can give you. You may recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. If an immediate family member was killed in a commercial truck crash, you might hold the responsible parties accountable with a wrongful death claim. 

Whether you need help proving negligence or need help negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company, we can do what it takes to make matters right. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, LLP will deal with the insurance company so you can focus on your family and recovery.

Call us at 713-893-0971 to schedule a free consultation so we can talk about your accident, how it happened, and how we can help.