According to the report published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), 579 fatal truck accidents were recorded in Texas in 2019. The report further reveals that substance abuse contributes to at least 6% of fatal truck accidents annually. Generally, Texas has the highest number of DUI fatalities in the United States. In 2019, a total number of 3,632 DUI (alcohol) crashes and injuries were recorded in Harris County, 2,197 in Dallas County, 2,113 in Bexar County, and 1,542 in Tarrant County, and 1,466 in Travis County.
Based on the December 2021 FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse report, drug and alcohol violations among truck drivers increased by 10.2% in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2021, there was a total number of 58,215 drug violations compared to 52,810 in the year 2020, with marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines being the most used drugs among truck drivers. The report further indicates that marijuana is the most abused illicit drug among truck drivers, with Texas recording the highest number of violations. According to the FMCSA, 7,268 positive drug and alcohol test violations were reported among Texas truck drivers.
According to the 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Occupant Protection statistics, 929 vehicle occupants killed in Texas vehicle crashes were unrestrained and did not use seat belts. The number decreased to 869 in the year 2017, increased to 926 in 2018, and decreased again to 868 in 2019. In addition, the NHTSA reported that the use of seat belts saved the lives of about 14,955 people in 2017 and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts.
In 2020, Texas experienced a 16% spike in the number of deaths resulting from truck drivers and their passengers not wearing a seat belts. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), there were 926 fatalities in 2019 and 1,073 fatalities in 2020 due to seat belt problems. In particular, the DOT reports that about 50% of all Texas truck drivers killed in accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. It was observed that truck drivers driving at night wore their seat belts less often which puts them at a higher risk of truck accidents. For example, in 2019, 59% of all accidents in which unrestrained drivers or passengers died occurred during the night. The Texas DOT has therefore observed that wearing a seat belt reduced the risk of dying in a passenger vehicle accident by 45%, and up to 60% in a pickup truck.
In 2019, the NHTSA reported that there were 5,005 deaths and an estimated 159,000 fatalities resulting from crashes involving 18-wheelers. A total number of 539 fatalities were recorded in Texas in 2016, 621 in 2017, and 658 in both 2018 and 2019. During these years, Texas had the highest number of fatal truck accidents and the largest number of total 18-wheelers involved in fatal crashes.
In 2018, the Texas DOT recorded a total number of 5,839 commercial vehicle accidents in Harris County. The DOT also reported 3,754 truck accidents involving commercial vehicles in Dallas County, 2,420 in Bexar County, 2,103 in Tarrant County, and 1,141 in El Paso County. The number of commercial vehicle accidents however increased in Harris County to 6,369 in 2019. Also in the same year, the number of crashes increased to 4,146 in Dallas County, 2,717 in Bexar County, 2,073 in Tarrant County, and decreased to 1,048 accidents in El Paso County. In addition, 933 incidents of commercial vehicle crashes including those involving 18-wheelers were recorded in Denton County, 729 in Travis County, 646 in Montgomery County, and 603 in Webb County.
There are approximately 3.6 million professional truck drivers in the United States, with over 1 million licensed to drive light trucks and 1.9 million licensed to drive heavy trucks and tractor-trailers as of 2021. On average, over 50,000 commercial driver licenses have been issued each month in 2021, which is 72% higher than the 2020 monthly average and 20% higher than the 2019 monthly average. In particular, the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that there were over 200,000 Texas truck drivers licensed to drive heavy trucks and tractor-trailers. In the same year, a total number of 76,310 licensed light truck drivers were recorded in Texas. In 2016, Texas issued over 684,699 licenses to truck drivers who depended on their commercial licenses to make a living.
Road users and those who suffered injury or loss may have questions regarding the possibility of compensation for their loss or injuries. It is advisable to consult with a truck accident lawyer or a personal injury attorney to provide them with legal advice and guidance on their situation. To find the best truck accident lawyers in Texas, interested parties may conduct a simple search online with keywords such as "truck accident lawyer near me" or visit the state bar association website to obtain the contact information of qualified lawyers in Texas. Victims of truck accidents may also use referrals from family and friends to find the best truck accident attorneys in Texas.