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Canyon, TX — 2 People Killed After Major Crash Involving 18-Wheeler

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2020 at 1:06 pm by Williams Hart    

Authorities are reporting a fatal crash involving a semi-truck that occured around 10:30AM on Friday, February 21st, leaving two people fatally injured.

According to local reports, an 18-wheeler struck the driver’s side of a pickup truck at the intersection of U.S. 60 and F.M. 2590 in Canyon, just south of Amarillo, TX. Tragically, both occupants of the pickup truck were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi sustained minor injuries. 

While the investigation remains ongoing, a number of factors could have contributed to this unfortunate accident.

 

The countless lives affected by commercial motor vehicle accidents, specifically in the rural areas of West Texas, is an epidemic that has not received adequate attention. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2013 nearly 4,000 people were killed in crashes involving 18-wheelers. Texas leads the nation in large truck road fatalities at 536, almost double the number of the next closest state. That’s an increase of 52% from 352 fatalities in 2009. 

Is the spike in big rig accidents related to the oil boom that took place in the energy-rich lands of West Texas? 

A 2015 report released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) says yes.

The study clearly and concretely supports the notion that the amount of drilling activity in an area, such as the Permian Basin or Eagle Ford Shale, is strongly correlated with the number of rural commercial vehicle crashes. When oil production activity increases, the number of reported road accidents involving big rigs increases as well. Conversely, when drilling activity diminishes, so does the number of road accidents.

Common Causes of Big Rig Accidents

 

  • Driver fatigue

 

According to the Texas Trucking Association, the state is short nearly 50,000 truck drivers and is only expected to increase. With a rapidly retiring workforce, lack of interest from younger generations, stagnant wages, and increasing freight loads, truck drivers are burdened with longer working hours and less time to get from point A to point B. Simply put, drivers cannot keep up with oil production and thus are suffering immense fatigue.

 

  • Drug and alcohol use

 

Legal and illegal drug and alcohol use contributes to nearly 65,000 big rig accidents annually. Inconsistent drug and alcohol testing for CDL drivers operating a commercial vehicle is a significant issue. Furthermore, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that 22 percent of truck drivers were driving while receiving disability benefits for epilepsy, alcohol addiction, or drug dependence.

 

  • Texting and driving

 

The likelihood of being involved in an accident on the road is 23.2 times higher for truck drivers who text while behind the wheel than for those who don’t. 

Other common causes: 

  • Overweight freight loads
  • Improper vehicle inspection and maintenance
  • Cargo security
  • Poor road conditions and infrastructure, especially in rural West Texas

Road Fatality Prevention Measures

Road accidents involving 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are likely to increase as oil production continues to rise in the areas of West Texas. While it can be difficult to prevent human errors that cause 18-wheeler accidents, there are measures that can be taken to subdue the number of fatalities that are expected to occur in the future:

  • Drivers must adhere to limited work hours regulations, such as the 11-hour driving limit and 60-hour weekly duty limit. If the demand for new truck drivers is to be met, life on the road must be improved with shorter work hours and more time to rest.
  • Practice safe driving, for both truckers and passenger vehicles
    • No tailgating, use turn signals, minimize lane changing, stay out of blind spots, use caution in work zones and in inclement weather, apply breaks early
  • Logistics professionals must be cognizant of safety measures such as land transportation safety policies, routine commercial vehicle inspections, and proper freight load management that would further reduce drivers’ exposure to fatal road hazards.

Get the Justice You Deserve

Road fatalities and injuries involving 18-wheelers are serious realities for both big rig operators and regular vehicle passengers, especially on the treacherous, oil-rich roads of West Texas. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in truck driving accident injury cases and can help you get the justice that you or your family deserves. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, contact us today for a free consultation. 

 

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