Better safety procedures, better technology, and increased awareness about trucking accidents has created a slow but steady decrease in fatalities related to big rig crashes in the United States over the past few decades. Unfortunately for the state of Texas, fatal truck accidents have risen dramatically in just the past five to ten years, most likely because of the oil boom occurring in the state. According to truck accident lawyers, the state is seeing more than its share of trucking accidents as a result with more heavy trucks on Texas roads than ever before.
Bringing Danger to Rural Communities
Since the beginning of the 2008 Eagle Shale oil boom, south central to east central Texas has been inundated with big rigs and other heavy trucks carrying equipment and construction supplies in and shipping oil out. The resulting traffic has increased Texas vehicle-related fatalities over 400 percent, mostly due to oilfield traffic. Accidents on smaller roads have also increased substantially, as well as the main highways and interstates, leaving safety organizations, the Texas Department of Transportation, and even truck accident lawyers looking for answers. These towns are also seeing greater road deterioration that must be handled.
Bringing Unsafe Practices
The increase in fatal accidents creates a contradiction for area residents affected by the local oil boom: it has definitely brought increased business to the area - but at a cost. Research into many of these big rig crashes continues to find many commercial trucks in poor mechanical condition in violation of many state and federal violations, being driven by unqualified or poorly-trained drivers. Too many companies, both big and small, are trying to take advantage of the need for commercial carriers.
It has also brought to light many companies operating with poor safety records. State and Federal safety organizations recognize that something must be done to prevent these carriers from escaping the rules and regulations by simply closing one company and opening another one under a different name. Local law enforcement and truck inspectors have their work cut out for them; inspections have doubled as a result over the past few years in response to this need. Still, the problem of bad rigs on Texas roads persists, despite citations and company audits; some carriers somehow manage to keep their trucks rolling.
Based on the above findings, and the rising number of fatal truck accidents occurring in this area of Texas, it seems there are quite a few problems that must be remedied. In the meantime, the Texas Freight Advisory committee for TxDOT continues to advise state groups responsible for creating and upholding commercial carrier laws to tighten commercial regulations and get problem carriers off the roads. The only way the number of big rig crashes can be reduced is with: stricter safety law enforcement; mandatory driver training and operating practices; improved truck maintenance; and the cooperation of good companies observing best practices in this area. According to lawyers who handle clients injured in the resulting truck accidents, citations must be issued, fines increased, and compliance with regulations enforced!
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