Houston drivers faced an agonizing commute Thursday morning when an 18-wheeler shut down four of the westbound lanes of I-10. A big rig jackknifed, causing the vehicle to lay parallel across the road as drivers scrambled to maneuver around the major trucking accident. On average, 500,000 accidents involving large trucks and 18-wheelers occur annually in the United States.
Jackknifing describes the action of a large truck or tractor-trailer in which the trailer of the truck swings from behind the cabin into a “V” or “L” shape. This is a common accident among large trucks and tractor-trailers, and it can cause considerable physical damage to surrounding elements like other vehicles on the road, as well as structural damage. In addition to damage, jackknifing often causes major traffic jams and significant delays for other drivers sharing the road.
18-Wheeler Crashes by the Numbers
The commonality of large truck and tractor-trailer accidents is alarming considering the severe and catastrophic destruction they can cause. Fatal trucking accidents have increased 42% since 2009, signaling the need for additional large truck safe driving training and increased enforcement of safety regulations and standards.
Large truck accidents were responsible for the deaths of 4,136 drivers and passengers in 2018, reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These fatalities disproportionately affect the drivers and occupants of passenger vehicles involved in accidents with large trucks. In fact, passenger vehicle drivers and occupants constituted 67% of all large truck-related accident fatalities, a drastic majority when compared to the 16% rate of fatalities among large truck drivers and occupants.
Not only are trucking accidents catastrophic in terms of fatalities and serious injuries, but they are also catastrophic in terms of the costs to those involved. Many individuals who suffer severe injuries from a large truck accident have lost wages, thousands of dollars in medical bills, and other damages.
Cost to Victims
In the most recent study conducted by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency estimated the following total costs of an accident involving a large truck or tractor-trailer that resulted in the injury or fatality of at least one person. The total costs include all costs related to a major accident, such as physical damage to the vehicle, medical bills, and post-treatment costs.
- Straight truck without trailer – $247,353
- Truck-tractor with one trailer – $334,892
- Fatal crash, straight truck without trailer – $6,314,659
- Fatal crash, truck-tractor with one trailer – $7,633,600
While these are of course estimates, the figures highlight the significant impact a single accident involving a large truck or tractor-trailer can have on not only an individual but their loved ones as well.
Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Attorneys
As accidents involving large trucks increase, it is imperative that commercial vehicle drivers and their companies take adequate responsibility for their part in keeping roads safe. All drivers and passengers deserve to travel safely while on the road. If you or someone you know was injured or killed in a Texas truck accident with an 18-wheeler, big rig, or other large truck, please contact Dax F. Garza, P.C. to discuss your case at no charge. We can explain your legal options for pursuing compensation.