A 76-year-old man from Llano was killed in a tractor-trailer crash on Sunday morning in West Texas. The elderly driver was attempting to change lanes when he clipped the rear left side of a tractor-trailer just north of Haley Center, Texas outside of Lubbock. Because of tractor-trailers immense weight – often up to 80,000 pounds – crashes involving these types of trucks are some of the worst traffic accidents on the road.
Oilfield Boom Leads To Roadway Busts
West Texas is home to the Permian Basin, where oil companies are pushing an increasingly inexperienced workforce to do difficult and dangerous jobs. With drilling in the Permian Basin at record levels, companies utilize tractor-trailer drivers to transport equipment and supplies to and from drilling sites in and around West Texas. As a result, this region is seeing more truck and 18-wheeler crashes than ever before.
Causes of a Tractor-Trailer Crash
The causes of big rig crashes are numerous, but the majority fall into one of the following categories:
- Cargo Load Issues: The cargo carried by a tractor-trailer may weigh tens of thousands of pounds. The improper loading of trucks and/or failing to secure cargo in violation of federal safety standards can cause loads to shift or fall off, leading to catastrophic accidents.
- Rear-End Collisions: Trucks take a lot longer to stop than cars do and need a longer distance to fully brake. Semi-truck rear-end accidents can happen when another vehicle ahead of the truck is stopped – whether at an intersection for a stop sign, at a traffic signal, or while making a left turn – or when traffic comes to an abrupt stop.
- Underride Accidents: A truck underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle crashes into the side or back of a tractor-trailer and slides underneath it. These truck collisions are among the most fatal roadway accidents, killing more than 300 people each year in the U.S. Underride accidents are commonly caused by the lack of required underride guards on trucks or because the brake lights, tail lights, and/or reflective tape are missing or nonfunctional.
- Left Turns: A characteristic unique to tractor-trailers is their turning radius, which requires making wide turns. If a trucker is not properly trained or does not navigate a left-hand turn appropriately, they can certainly cause a crash.
- Truck Driver Error: Common trucker mistakes that can cause crashes include driver fatigue, drug and alcohol abuse, distracted driving, blind spots, speeding, following too closely, and making illegal maneuvers on the road. If a truck driver was acting negligently while operating a dangerous vehicle capable of killing others, that person and those who hired them should be held accountable.
- Mechanical Failure: The negligence of a trucking company to properly maintain the vehicles can itself lead to dangerous mechanical failures. Common mechanical issues arising in tractor-trailers include brake failure, transmission failure, tire blowout, broken lights, steering failure, suspension failure, failures in the hitch, and more.
Lubbock, Texas Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been injured or have lost a family member in a tractor-trailer accident, contact Liggett Law Group today. Our team of Lubbock truck accident lawyers and experienced legal staff provide free, confidential consultations to injury victims.