What is the number one cause of delivery truck accidents in Texas?

With the largest network of roads in the continental U.S., Texas sees plenty of traffic. A lot of that traffic comes from the delivery trucks that play a vital role in keeping the economy humming by transporting goods and materials to consumers and businesses. Unfortunately, these trucks don’t always make it to their destinations safely, and when they are involved in accidents, their size and weight mean that the consequences can be especially dire.

A collision with a delivery truck or van can change your life in an instant. When you need assistance dealing with the aftermath, a Texas truck accident attorney can be an invaluable ally.

Are You Aware of the Dangers of Sharing Texas Roads with Delivery Trucks?

Delivery vehicles are everywhere. With more people engaging in online shopping, it seems like their number is multiplying. Eighteen-wheelers and semis with the names of familiar carriers like UPS, FedEx, Amazon, DHL, and more emblazoned on their trailers are often in the next lane on the highway or interstate. Meanwhile, box trucks, vans, and smaller vehicles dart and swerve through cities, towns, and neighborhoods to bring packages to doors.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 38,600 crashes involving commercial vehicles in 2022. Over 600 of these collisions resulted in at least one fatality. More than 1,600 were suspected of causing a serious or incapacitating injury. Over 5,000 were linked to a minor or nonincapacitating injury.

Clearly, being involved in a delivery vehicle accident can have life-altering consequences. Anyone who has had this experience deserves proper compensation, but securing it isn’t an easy task. After all, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They’re focused on their bottom line. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney who will treat you like a priority is vital.

What Is the Top Cause of Delivery Truck Accidents in Texas?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for overseeing and regulating commercial vehicles and those who drive them. As part of its continuing mission to reduce injuries and fatalities caused by commercial vehicles, FMCSA conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. This research offers interesting insights into the top causes of delivery truck accidents.

Driver Error

Driver error is far and away the most common cause of accidents involving large commercial vehicles. The FMCSA study highlighted four specific areas that were of greatest concern because they were most likely to be noted in accident reports:

  • Decision: The driver showed poor judgement or made poor decisions. For example, they misjudged the speed of other vehicles, operated their vehicle at a speed unsafe for road conditions, or chose to follow another vehicle at an inappropriate distance.
  • Nonperformance: The driver was not piloting the truck for a physical reason. They may have fallen asleep, had a seizure, or suffered some other incapacitating health event.
  • Performance: An action the driver took while piloting the truck contributed to the accident. They may have overcorrected, overcompensated, or panicked.
  • Recognition: The driver failed to identify the situation because they were paying insufficient attention to their driving. They may have been inattentive or distracted.

Driver Training

Commercial driver’s licenses, or CDLs, are issued by states, so the amount of time and training required to secure one varies. While most jurisdictions seem to set the minimum for proving a driver has mastery over an oversized vehicle at around three to six months, some states allow people to earn a CDL in as little as three weeks.

Since driver error plays such a large role in delivery vehicle accidents, a concern regarding driver training is only natural. This is especially reasonable at a time when the industry is actively recruiting new drivers to cope with a driver shortage. As a result, FMSCA is studying the training process and curricula.

Equipment Issues

Equipment breakdowns are at fault for roughly 10% of truck crashes, according to the FMSCA study. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study that examined vehicles involved in accidents with at least one big truck and an evident injury found that 55% of the trucks had at least one mechanical fault, and nearly a third of the trucks had violations serious enough that they should have been immediately pulled from service. Some 36% had braking violations, and 19% had lighting system violations. You don’t have to be a professional to understand the danger of these systems failing.

Federal law requires drivers to make daily inspections and reports regarding the status of their equipment and any necessary repairs. These records must be maintained for 90 days.

Areas that are frequently problematic include:

  • Braking systems that are worn or poorly maintained
  • Tires that are worn or underinflated
  • Safety systems that are missing, defective, or insufficient
  • Lighting, including turn signals, that is defective or missing
  • Windshield wipers that are inadequate or failing
  • Transmission systems that are faulty or failing
  • Cargo that is unbalanced
  • Parts with manufacturing defects
  • Maintenance that is poor or not performed
  • Emergency equipment that is missing

Driver Substance Abuse

An impaired driver is far more likely to make errors. Sadly, some professional drivers still choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Of course, illicit substances aren’t the only threat. Prescription medications and other substances can negatively impact a person’s ability to drive. Is a driver getting enough rest or relying on a chemical substance that promises to keep them alert? The second scenario is a red flag that should raise concerns.

Trucking Company Priorities

Trucking companies are businesses, so their desire to make a profit is obvious. However, the need to meet deadlines and satisfy clients must always be balanced against corporate responsibility and safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages all trucking companies to step up by creating programs to prevent delivery truck accidents.

OSHA offers guidelines for what an effective program should include:

  • Involvement at all levels: Management’s involvement in safety programs communicates conviction and allows for the proper allocation of resources. Employee participation makes the effort stronger and improves the odds of success.
  • Policies and procedures in writing: Having policies and procedures in writing makes them clear, consistent, and enforceable. Consider including incentives and consequences.
  • Regulatory compliance: Establish which, if any, local, state, and federal rules and regulations govern your employees and fleet.
  • Driver agreements: Having a signed driver agreement confirms that employees are aware of the company’s policies regarding safety, its expectations of its drivers, and their responsibilities as employees of the company.
  • Driver training: With driver error being such a major factor in delivery truck accidents, companies with active safety cultures often have driver training programs. These include classes on safe driving practices and skill refreshers.
  • Motor Vehicle Record checks:Periodic MVR checks verify that the driver is maintaining a clean driving record.
  • Crash reporting and investigation: Any accident, no matter how minor, should be promptly reported to a driver’s supervisor for investigation. Regardless of fault, understanding the cause of the crash can help prevent future incidents.
  • Disciplinary action system: Drivers who develop a pattern of repeated violations or preventable accidents should face progressive disciplinary actions. Potential consequences should be detailed in the company’s safety policies and procedures.
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection: Reliable equipment is essential for the safety of both drivers and the public. Drivers should feel confident that vehicle selection, inspection, and maintenance matters will be handled with safety as a priority. They should feel free to raise concerns if they find an issue with their equipment.

What Should You Do If You’re Injured in a Delivery Truck Accident in Texas?

Sharing the road with delivery vehicles is a challenge. They can stop suddenly or turn widely. Their large size and shifting cargo can make impacts catastrophic. The possibility of severe injury is high.

If you’ve been involved in a delivery van accident, request a police response. Make sure to get a police report. Document the accident as thoroughly as possible while staying safe. Be sure to seek medical care for your injuries so that there is a clear record of the injuries, the care that you receive, and the costs involved. Report the accident to your insurance company. Then, reach out to an experienced UPS truck accident lawyer.

Who Might Be Liable After a Delivery Truck Accident?

Liability after a delivery vehicle crash is a complicated question. Depending on the circumstances, it could be the trucking company, the driver, the contractor who provided the truck, maintenance professionals, or even truck parts manufacturers. However, many major trucking companies like Amazon, UPS, and FedEx often hire drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. This distinction can limit the company’s liability in the event of an accident.

For a person who is working to recover after an injury, trying to sort out the puzzle of who is at fault and how to secure the compensation that you deserve can be frustrating. Working with a skilled FedEx truck accident lawyer who knows how to build a solid case is the best way to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation.

How Much Compensation Do Delivery Truck Accident Victims Receive?

The amount of compensation that the victim of a delivery truck accident might receive depends on many factors, including the determination of fault and the severity of their injuries. In a perfect world, someone who is harmed in an accident caused by another driver who receives significant, life-altering injuries that will require ongoing care should expect to receive more compensation than someone with lesser injuries that will heal. In the real world, other factors can influence the outcome.

Trucking companies or their insurance companies may try to set the amount of compensation that victims receive by offering settlements. These offers are often low. Before accepting such an offer, it’s smart to schedule a consultation with a Texas attorney who is familiar with delivery truck accident cases.

How Can a Texas Lawyer Assist a Delivery Truck Accident Victim?

Working with a Texas lawyer offers many benefits for delivery van accident victims. These professionals understand how the system works, so they know what to do and when to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

A truck accident attorney can take steps to ensure that any evidence regarding your accident and your injuries is preserved. This ensures that you’ll have what’s needed to build a strong case if you need to go to trial. They’re aware of matters like filing deadlines, so they can warn you about simple missteps that might damage your case. They can also identify any and all parties who might be at fault and help you calculate what the proper level of compensation is for medical needs now and in the future, lost wages, pain and suffering, or any other relevant concerns. Armed with this information, they can help you vet any settlement offer. If it’s low, they can negotiate on your behalf. If necessary, they can go to court on your behalf to secure the compensation that you deserve.

Have you or someone you love been injured in a delivery truck accident in Texas? You need an experienced truck accident lawyer who is solidly on your side. Look for a skilled professional who will stand up to the insurance companies and battle even the big names without hesitation as they work to see that your legal rights are protected and you are able to access the medical care that you need to recover. Many legal firms will offer free consultations. Their lawyers will meet with you to review the specific details of your case, explain the situation, and help you explore the possibilities so that you know where you stand and what their firm can provide you with. Scheduling a free case evaluation with a reputable Texas truck accident attorney is an effective way to safeguard your interests and protect your peace of mind so that you can concentrate on healing.