Dallas, 10/21/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
1-800-Truck-Wreck is reporting a recent commercial vehicle accident in Fannett, TX, that involved two dump trucks and a passenger vehicle, and caused serious injuries to three people.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) said that a Peterbilt dump truck was traveling southbound on Highway 124.
A Freightliner dump truck and a small passenger vehicle were traveling behind the Peterbilt truck, and a 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe was headed north on Highway 123 at around the same time.
As the Peterbilt and the Tahoe passed each other in traffic, two rear tires came off the dump truck and struck the Tahoe, which then careened into the southbound lane.
The driver of the Freightliner dump truck, which was behind the Peterbilt truck, slowed down in an attempt to avoid the collision, but smashed into the Tahoe.
The Tahoe then veered off the highway and into the woods, hitting some trees before becoming engulfed in fire.
The driver of the Tahoe, Enola Walker, 32, a resident of Beaumont, was seriously injured in the wreck and taken to a local hospital.
There were four other passengers in the SUV – all children under 12 .
Two of the four children suffered minor injuries, and the other two suffered serious injuries.
Fifty-seven-year-old Manuel Rodriguez, the driver of the Peterbilt dump truck, did not suffer any injuries.
Forty-nine-year-old Darrell Lee, the driver of the Freightliner dump truck, was able to escape from his commercial vehicle before it caught fire.
Lee did not suffer any injuries in the wreck.
“In these types of truck wrecks, when you have equipment malfunctions, liability can become very complex,” stated Amy Witherite of 1-800-Truck-Wreck. “The tires coming off the Peterbilt dump truck may initially be considered the contributing factor to the accident, but there are many aspects to these wrecks that need to be investigated, including the last time the vehicle was inspected, whether the tires were defective, or whether an auto mechanic is responsible for the tires not being properly torqued to the vehicle.”
Other Recent Dump Truck Wrecks
The accident in Fannett that involved several commercial vehicles is similar to other recent dump truck wrecks in Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.
Milam, TX – In August, a dump truck accident occurred at about 9:00 a.m. on Highway 87 North, near the intersection at Highway 21 in Milam.
Fifty-eight-year-old Jerry Woods, a resident of Texarkana, was traveling southbound on Highway 87 in a dump truck, and failed to stop at an intersection.
He then lost control of the truck, which caused the vehicle to run off the highway, strike a car in the parking lot of a strip-mall and flip over multiple times.
Woods was pronounced dead at the scene, and two other passengers who were in the truck at the time of the accident were seriously injured and taken to a local hospital.
Authorities believe that the dump truck may have been traveling at a high speed, and that Woods may not have had the time to bring the vehicle to a stop before it smashed into the passenger vehicle.
Atlanta, GA – In July, a man was killed on the job, when his dump truck was struck from the rear by another dump truck.
Neil Gayle, a dump truck driver with more than 20 years experience, was in a G & J Trucking dump truck on Harold Dobbs Road, headed to Covington to pick up a load.
Sadly, Gayle’s dump truck was rear-ended by another dump truck driven by a friend, whose name police did not disclose.
The impact caused both trucks to run off the road and into a river.
Gayle was ejected from his vehicle, but unfortunately, the dump truck landed on top of him, which caused his death.
Authorities said that Gayle’s friend was not familiar with the area in which they were traveling, and had kept the dump truck he was driving in very close proximity to the truck Gayle was driving.
Gayle’s friend suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Dump Truck Dangers
These recent accidents are evidence that dump trucks pose a risk to other motorists if not operated with proper safety measures.
In fact, dump trucks are more likely to tip over than other commercial vehicles, because of the instability of the end-dump unit, especially when that unit is raised.
Dump trucks are also top-heavy, which makes them far more unstable than other commercial trucks.
This danger is heightened when dump trucks are driven on roads that are rough or filled with pot-holes, because even slight variations in the ground that isn’t level can cause these vehicles to run off a road.
In addition, dump trucks are often carrying full loads, which can present a road hazard when these vehicles are involved in wrecks that spill those loads onto roadways.
The other troubling issue is that as many as 30 percent of dump trucks and tractor-trailers on the road are overloaded, but there are not enough state DOT inspectors to monitor the problem, according to the Truck Safety Coalition.
As a result, these commercial vehicles can tip over, spill their contents or cause their drivers to lose control because of excessive weight on their tires.
And multiple studies have found that commercial trucks that exceed their carrying capacity are far more likely to be involved in an accident.
Furthermore, trucks that are overloaded need more time to brake, which means that even if a driver observes proper safety protocol, it would still take that driver as much as the length of a football field to come to a complete stop from a normal driving speed of 55 miles per hour.
“A lot of these overloaded commercial trucks aren’t being inspected,” Witherite added. “So you have some of these vehicles that are carrying too much weight, and then when you add other factors such as driver fatigue, driver inattention and road conditions that may not be optimal, making these trucks pose a clear and present danger to other motorists.”
The Latest Truck Accident Statistics
And that danger doesn’t appear to be lessening, given the most recent accident fatality statistics.
In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its 2015 report on car and truck accident fatalities.
More than 35,000 people were killed in car accidents in the U.S. in 2015, a 7.2 percent increase over 2014, in which 32,744 people died as a result of accidents.
Although that 7.2 percent figure may seem small, it is actually the largest percentage increase in car accidents from one year to the next in 50 years.
What’s even more unsettling is that there were 4,067 deaths resulting from commercial truck accidents in 2015, an increase of 4.1 percent from 2014, and the highest number of deaths involving large trucks since 2008.
And of those 4,067 fatalities, 73.5 percent were occupants of other vehicles, whereas only 16.4 percent were occupants of the commercial trucks.
“That’s one of the great tragedies of commercial truck accidents that involve smaller passenger vehicles,” Witherite stated. “What these latest statistics show is that the size, length and power of these vehicles makes it far more likely that drivers and passengers of other vehicles will bear the brunt of the accident.”
Part of the increase in fatalities involving commercial trucks is attributed to the fact that there are more of these vehicles on the road.
The oil and fracking boom in states such as Texas has greatly increased the number of commercial trucks on the road.
Also, states that have large ports are seeing a marked increase in trucks as exports and imports continue to boom with greater consumer demand.
It’s no surprise then that Texas led all states with 3,516 total accident fatalities in 2015, followed closely by California, which had 3,176 fatalities, and Florida, which had 2,939 deaths resulting from accidents.
Making things worse, the total number of commercial truck accidents has increased 44 percent since 2009, and injuries resulting from those accidents have also increased by an astounding 50 percent.
Push For New Safety Measures
Government agencies responsible for regulating commercial truck safety standards are attempting to find solutions to the increasing number of truck accidents.
One measure that is gaining traction is the implementation of automatic emergency brakes in all commercial vehicles.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), is a technology that features forward-looking sensors that evaluate hazards that could affect a vehicle, and automatically apply the brakes if a driver does not take evasive action to prevent an accident.
“Most crashes involve driver error,” stated Adrian Lund, President of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). “This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes because the system’s on alert, monitoring the road ahead and never getting tired or distracted.”
The NHTSA has studied AEB technology, and reported that it could potentially lower the fatality rate in commercial truck accidents by 60 percent.
It may take years for the U.S. Department of Transportation to make a decision on AEB technology, but the trucking industry lobby and safety advocates are in support of making these brakes mandatory for all commercial vehicles.
Justice and Peace of Mind
If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, you need a team that is committed to fighting for your rights as a victim. Call 1-800-Truck-Wreck, and speak to the team at Eberstein & Witherite, LLP. You’ll find that we treat you like a member of the family, and are genuinely concerned about your health and recovery, while we take care of the legal side of things.
Eberstein & Witherite, LLP
Email: [email protected]
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