New data shows that the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is experiencing a surge in fatal commercial truck accidents with crash rates increasing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fatal Crashes Surge Despite Drops in Miles Traveled
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, many experts expected crash rates and traffic deaths to decrease as traffic plummeted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, while miles traveled nationwide dropped nationwide by 13.2% in 2020, traffic fatalities increased by 7.2%. Currently, there is no indication the trend will slow down.
This is especially true for commercial truck accidents in the 12 counties that make up the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
In 2019, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise counties saw a total of 78 fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles. In 2020, that number surged to 90 and as of December 2021, preliminary data shows at least 92 fatal commercial trucking accidents have happened in 2021.
Why Are Fatal Truck Accidents Increasing in Dallas and Fort Worth?
While one would think less traffic would mean fewer fatal crashes, transit experts like Michael Morris point to human behaviors as a driving force behind the increase in fatal traffic accidents. Speaking to the Star-Telegram, Mr. Morris brought attention to increases in bad driving behaviors like speeding and reckless driving
“Higher speeds mean a greater chance of fatality versus accident,” Morris told the Star-Telegram. “We saw more aggressive driving on part of cars. They would weave around [large trucks].”
Lance Simmons, the director of engineering and safety operations for the Texas Department of Transportation, echoed Mr. Morris’s observations, stating “It seems like there is a lot more anger out on the road.”
At the commercial level, driver shortages may be compounding these bad behaviors.
Truck drivers are being pushed to their limits as they are more regularly working their maximum hours per week. This can lead to “road hypnosis” where truck drivers do not have their full, active attention on the road. When operating a large truck or 18-wheeler, even small lapses in attention can quickly become fatal.
In addition to pushing drivers to work more hours, truck companies are also recruiting younger, less experienced drivers to make up for driver shortages. Some may even pressure drivers to cut corners or underreport driving hours.
Reducing Fatal Truck Accidents in Dallas and Fort Worth
While there is no clear-cut solution, safety advocates are working to create a comprehensive plan to curb the surge in fatal truck accidents across the DFW area.
Current ideas include improving rest stops for commercial drivers and addressing engineering issues at traffic accident hotspots. Advocates are also pushing for public education campaigns that will share the potential consequences of risky driving.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Thomas J. Henry Law
If you or a loved one was involved in a crash with a large truck or an 18-wheeler, call Thomas J. Henry Law immediately. Truck accidents require immediate attention, and calling an experienced truck accident attorney will ensure all the evidence of your crash is gathered in a timely manner. This will put you in the best position to recover full compensation.
Trucking and commercial transportation companies employ teams of attorneys to challenge accident claims. They will try to limit the company’s liability and may attempt to shift the blame onto you. Do not take that risk. We have litigated against some of the largest transportation companies in the nation, and, in doing so, we have secured record-breaking results for our clients.
Get the compensation you deserve. Call Thomas J. Henry Law.