IWhen a truck driver chooses to get behind the wheel when drunk or on drugs or decides they have to use their smartphone while operating an 80,000-pound vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. Accidents due to these and other reasons occur throughout the United States regularly. But there are five states with the most truck accidents – Texas, California, Florida, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
The following is a closer look at why those five states are at the top of the list for U.S. truck accidents. If you’ve suffered an injury due to a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, the attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen will be ready to help you seek compensation. You can contact us online for a free consultation, or you can give us a call at (800) 732-3070.
Truck accidents occur far too often across the country – especially in Texas. There were 513 fatal crashes involving commercial trucks in the Lone Star State in 2020, resulting in 581 deaths and 1,245 severe injuries.
One of the reasons Texas has so many truck accidents is the state’s huge oil and gas industries. They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with trucks constantly moving into and out of drilling sites. With that many trucks on the road, many of which are operated by fatigued drivers, accidents are inevitable.
Like all states, Texas has many safety laws in effect to try to reduce accidents. For example, all commercial trucks must pass yearly safety equipment inspections. But trucking companies often fail to comply. During Roadblock 2018, an effort to crack down on unsafe trucks, nearly 2,000 rigs were pulled off of Texas roads due to safety violations.
In California, large truck accidents led to 398 deaths in 2020. Since California has some of the largest cities in the country, it’s no surprise that there are so many trucks crisscrossing the state. There are nearly 1 million commercial trucks registered in California, contributing to the high number of accidents that occur each year.
Many municipalities have tried to curb the number of trucks on the road at certain times of the year. For example, there are restrictions on how long commercial trucks can be in operation on several holidays, including New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. These restrictions are in effect in San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
There were 202 fatalities resulting from 182 fatal crashes in 2019. More than 3,800 people suffered injuries in the nearly 6,400 accidents that involved trucks and buses.
A major contributing factor to Florida truck accidents is the fact that the central portion of the state is a major warehousing and logistics hub. Commercial trucks are commonplace on major interstates, such as I-4 and I-75. Unfortunately, many of these highways haven’t grown with the times. They have the same number of lanes as they did nearly a decade ago. They have a hard time supporting the increase in truck traffic as a result.
Also, Florida law doesn’t require trucks that travel solely within the state to be equipped with electronic logging devices. Drivers are also not required to keep documents showing how long they’ve been behind the wheel. This can make it more likely that truckers will operate their rigs even when they’re exhausted.
Fifty-one people died in truck accidents in Nebraska in 2020. Even though truck accidents comprised only 4.4% of all motor vehicle accidents in the state that year, they accounted for 15.1% of all fatalities.
Since Nebraska is in the middle of the country, truckers will often enter the state already having logged hundreds of miles. They’ll be more prone to fatigue as a result. Nebraska also features long, straight roads and flat terrain. The monotony of the landscape can make truckers even more fatigued.
State legislators, however, have taken action to make Nebraska’s roads safer. State law has made it harder for new CDL (commercial driver’s license) applicants, as well as those who need to renew or upgrade their licenses.
The Nebraska DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) has to request the driving records of all applicants for the previous 10 years. If a driver has a Major Disqualifying Offense, such as driving while impaired or leaving the scene of an accident, they will not receive their CDL. This is an important step because it helps keep dangerous truckers off the road.
In Wyoming, truck accidents led to 46 deaths in 2019 – an astounding 25% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
Wyoming is a beautiful part of the country, but it’s also known for incredibly severe winter weather, namely blizzards. Both of these characteristics make driving a truck more challenging than in other parts of the U.S. Drivers will sometimes be distracted by the mountains that dominate the landscape. They’ll also try to push through and drive through blinding snow in an effort to meet their deadlines.
But state law recently changed to make sure truckers are worthy of obtaining their Wyoming CDL. They now must take any new driver, or one trying to upgrade their CDL, to take additional training before they can take their CDL skills test.
3 Reasons Why You Need a Lawyer in States with the Most Truck Accidents
Here are three reasons why you should seriously consider getting in touch with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence:
- To investigate the accident – A truck accident lawyer can help investigate the accident and determine who was at fault. It could have been the truck driver, the trucking company, or the manufacturer of a defective tire that blew out. There could be multiple liable parties that contributed to the accident.
- To negotiate with insurance companies – A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve.
- To represent you in court – Most personal injury cases never make it to court. But if your case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court and advocate for your interests. They can also bring in expert witnesses to make your case even more robust.