Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 11:15 pm
Texas has by far and away the highest number of fatalities caused by truck driver accidents in the country. In 2012, the number was 491 for Texas. The second highest fatality rate was in California, but less than half the Texas figure, standing at 227. This is not a record to be proud of and is only the tip of the Texan iceberg as it doesn’t reveal the much higher number of injuries caused by truck accidents, many of which would have been serious.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some revealing statistics about commercial truck accidents. The statistics are national ones, but it is assumed that they apply to Texas as much as anywhere else in the country.
342,000 trucks were involved in an accident of one type or another in 2013. Over twice as many trucks were involved in fatal crashes (9% of the total) as other types of vehicles based on the fact that only 4% of registered vehicles were trucks in that year.
Most truck accidents occurred:
- in rural areas;
- when the truck and the other vehicle involved were traveling straight;
- in the daytime;
- on a weekday.
The statistics held by the NHTSA show that the majority of serious injuries and fatalities (over 70% in both categories) involved the occupants of the other, usually smaller, vehicle.
Can the implementation of electronic logging devices help reduce the incidence of truck accidents?
There are many reasons why truck accidents occur. The reasons are as many and varied as any other type of vehicle accident. It is the severity of the accident and the likelihood of serious and fatal injuries that make truck crashes so potentially terrifying. One important reason why truck accidents occur is because truck drivers get tired and yet continue to drive. There are strict rules about the length of time a truck driver can stay behind the wheel before getting some rest, but there is not always enough evidence to sanction drivers who ignore them. The incentive to drive for longer than allowed can be strong, especially when the driver is paid a bonus for timely deliveries or paid by load.
In the past, drivers were expected to keep logs of the time they were driving and when they rested. Theoretically, if these logs were meticulously kept they should provide evidence that the driver was keeping to the rules. In practice, they were, in many cases, not kept so meticulously. In some cases, they were forged or changed deliberately to pretend that the rules were being kept when they weren’t.
Electronic logging devices (ELD) have been introduced to try and address the problem of driver fatigue and also provide a more detailed record of exactly was going on immediately before an accident. ELDs are an improvement on an earlier electronic logging system which is still in use by many trucking companies and drivers called ABORD (Automatic on Board Recording Device). Federal law will make it mandatory for all commercial truck drivers to have an ELD system in place by the end of 2019. Up to then, an ABORD system can be used as long as it is working properly.
ELDs may make it easier to find evidence that a driver was too tired to drive safely
The advantage of the ELD system is that it doesn’t involve the driver manually imputing information, which is a plus for the driver as well as everyone else. The ELD automatically records what the driver is doing and shares the information with the truck company and regulatory authorities, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In the event of a crash, information stored and shared by the driver’s ELD is available to crash investigators, insurance carriers, police and truck accident attorneys representing crash victims.
For example, if you are hit by a truck and are injured, you may decide to file a personal injury claim against the driver, the truck company or both. In the past, it was common for truck companies to act fast and remove evidence showing that their driver was at fault. Driver fatigue and speeding are common reasons for truck accidents and an ELD can provide valuable evidence that helps a crash victim to support a valid claim.
If you have been hit by a Texas truck driver and were injured, you have the right to claim compensation for the cost of medical treatment, lost earnings and other damages including the property damage done to your own vehicle. Call the Patino Law Firm in McAllen at 956-631-3535 to arrange an appointment.