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Katy, TX — Deadly Crash Involving Big Rig Shuts Down Westbound Lanes of Katy Freeway

Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 at 12:50 pm by Williams Hart    

Authorities are reporting that the westbound lanes of the Katy Freeway at Greenhouse were shut down in the early morning of Tuesday, July 30th, after a fatal five-vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler.

According to the Houston Police Department, the crash was reported at 6:40AM. 

Views from Houston TranStar showed that all westbound lanes were closed by authorities. Two Life Flight helicopters arrived at the scene and landed on the freeway. At least one person was killed, police say. The conditions of the other victims involved could not yet be confirmed. 

As of 8:20AM, all outbound mainlanes and HOV lanes remain closed. 

The investigation remains ongoing. No details on the cause of the accident have been provided.

We are saddened to learn of another preventable roadway fatality. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. 

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

As roadways continue to deteriorate under the weight of countless heavy truck fleets transporting crude oil out of the Eagle Ford Shale, officials have taken notice–and action. 

In 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation developed the Roads for Texas Energy taskforce to assess road damage associated with oil and gas production activity in the Eagle Ford Shale regions. 

As of 2016, the taskforce has continued addressing these issues by investing investing $569 million in funding to:

  • Prioritize corridors based on three-year average crash data
  • Improve pavement design and reinforcement in those corridors, such as adding turn lanes and shoulder lanes in key locations.

What You Can Do to Prevent Road Fatalities

Road accidents involving 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are likely to increase as oil production continues to rise in the areas of South-Central Texas. There are measures you can take 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 that wind across the Eagle Ford Shale. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in truck driving accident injury cases and can help you get the justice that you or your family deserve.

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