The holidays involve a lot of domestic travel in the United States. People travel near and far to visit relatives and loved ones in hopes of spreading holiday cheer, exchanging gifts, enjoying different mixtures of eggnogs, and other holiday delights. But regular every day Americans are not the only ones who increase travel during the holidays. Due to the increase in holiday shopping demands with days such as Black Friday, the after Christmas sales taken advantage of by people with an increase in Christmas money and gift cards, and all of the New Years related sales, there is also a rather dramatic increase in commercial traveling done by 18-wheelers hauling goods to popular stores and shopping centers. With this combination increase in travelers, there is also a rather large increase in accidents between regular travelers in average cars and these dangerous freight vehicles.
In general, the last study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety showed that there was an overall 16 percent increase than from years past. This same agency reported 95,000 people injured in 2015 in accidents involving large trucks. According to the Bureau of Travel Statistics, more than 90 percent of long-distance travel is accomplished by the use of a personal vehicle (for example, a car). Further, the NHSTA tracked the number of daily traffic-related fatalities during the Christmas season between 2001 and 2005 and noticed that on average 45 people died each day, compared to the 36 per day every other day of the year. By this point, if that study were conducted more recently the number of deaths would likely be three times that number. This increase of cars on the road coupled with increase of commercial vehicle travel to meet holiday demands, is at the root of why so many accidents involving 18-wheelers occur during the holidays.
Many trucking websites also credit this increase in accidents involving large freight trucks to an increase in driver fatigue and tight schedules. Although experienced every other day of the year, the increase in demand to make delivery schedules make fatigue even worse during the holiday season. Also, and most obviously, poor weather conditions. Although not as big of an issue in Texas as in other parts of the country, the holiday season brings a lot of snow flurries, sleet, and the notorious black ice. Slick roads make it especially difficult to navigate, especially for freight trucks that are praying to make strict scheduling demands for their employers.
Lastly, these trucking websites note that poor training for handling the increase in demand and the weather is also a factor in these unfortunate incidents. The stress of the holidays along with natural acts of God can make for a dramatic increase in accidents involving personal vehicles and commercial freight trains.
The fast-paced culture that we live in now also plays a significant role in the equation. People order from Amazon and want their items that day or at most the next day. We do not like to wait anymore, even if it could cost a life, cause a permanent or life-threatening injury, or cause a company to pay out billions of dollars in settlements to alleviate the damage already done. It is imperative that employers and trucking companies take note of the risks associated with their commercial travel, the fact that there are more personal vehicles on the road, and any and all associated risks. And lastly, for people involved in these incidents to secure dynamic legal counsel as is seen at our law firm.
Morrow & Sheppard LLP’s personal injury attorneys regularly handle cases involving 18-wheeler crashes. Our attorneys are licensed in Texas and Louisiana and have been admitted on a temporary basis to handle cases all around the country.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler crash, contact the team at Morrow & Sheppard LLP to protect and assert your legal rights.