Chaos On The Roads: Breaking Down 18-Wheeler Accidents In West Texas – 2023

West Texas is a 30-county region covering over 39,000 square miles. This massive area has seen significant growth over the last ten years. West Texas counties have reaped incredible benefits since 2010, from increased jobs to a rising population.

In the heart of West Texas lies one of the largest oil capitals of the United States, Midland-Odessa. In 2019, the Permian Basin region generated an average of 3.9 million barrels of crude oil daily. That equates to around a third of the total U.S. oil production.

With the oil and gas industry booming across the western counties of Texas, more people are flocking to the goldmine. Retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and many other economic drivers mean more people are out on the roads, getting from place to place.

Increased numbers of drivers on the roads lead to additional difficulties and obstacles.

The Permian Basin remains a critical part of the American economy, not just for their oil production. The roadways and highway systems that run through the region provide the runway for goods to ship across the country and to/from Mexico.

Tractor trailers and 18-wheelers can be seen driving through the Permian Basin highways every second. With a population boom and roads filled with drivers, accidents are a frequent occurrence.

In fact, Texas leads the country in truck-related accidents. Today, we’ll dive into these accidents that plague not just West Texas but the rest of the state.

We’ll discuss some of the major accidents in 2023, why truck-related accidents happen, and what you can do if an 18-wheeler in West Texas has injured you.

Let’s begin by understanding the Texas trucking accident statistics…

2023 Statistics – Texas Truck Accidents

Texas has been leading the nation in trucking-related deaths and accidents every year since 2017.

Unfortunately, those trends continued in 2023.

Here are the statistics for last year:

  • Total Truck Accidents: According to the latest available statistics, Texas reported a jaw-dropping total of 12,542 truck-related accidents during 2023. This number includes a broad spectrum of incidents, ranging from collisions involving commercial trucks to encounters with semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large vehicles.
  • Fatalities: Sadly, in those 12,542 truck accidents in Texas during 2023, 563 people died. Furthermore, in the state of Texas, there were over 4,700 traffic-related deaths in 2023, and truck accidents accounted for 12% of all fatalities on the road.
  • Injuries: The total number of people injured in truck accidents in Texas was relatively high, as expected, totaling 8,710 individuals who suffered some sort of injury.

Why Do Truck Accidents Happen In West Texas?

Traffic accidents happen for many reasons, which we’ll get into throughout this article.

Unfortunately, truck-related accidents in West Texas and the Permian Basin are too familiar for residents and news reporters.

Understanding why West Texas is growing year over year is important. So, let’s break down a few key factors contributing to the boom.

West Texas Growth – 2023 Snapshot

The Texas comptroller only releases region snapshots every two years, so this data is from 2022. We will have to wait and see 2023 changes in the 2024 report.

With that being said, let’s dive right into the numbers for the West Texas region:

  • The population increased by 13.2% between 2010 and 2020 – this is slightly less than the Texas population growth during that time (15.9%)
  • The region added more than 46,000 jobs from 2010 to 2020, which is a 17.8% increase (0.7% more than the state of Texas)
  • Median household income also increased by 38% during that time period which was 14% higher than Texas

As you can see, West Texas has been no stranger to economic growth since 2010 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Exploring the Causes of Truck Collisions in Texas

As highlighted earlier, truck collisions pose significant concerns in Texas, and understanding their causes is crucial for avoiding future roadway accidents.

Accidents can happen with even the most proactive and safe drivers, from distractions to speeding.

Let’s jump into the most common reasons truck collisions happen in Texas:

  1. Driver Fatigue
    Long hours on the road, tight delivery schedules, and short rest breaks create a dicey situation for truck drivers. Fatigue leads to drooping eyelids, impaired judgment, and slower reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents. Federal regulations mandate rest periods, but exhaustion often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
  2. Speeding
    Exceeding speed limits violates traffic laws and puts safety on the back burner. Speeding trucks pose a greater hazard in Texas, where roads stretch miles without curves. Whether driven by urgency or pressure to meet deadlines, speeding trucks endanger other road users, especially in difficult conditions such as weather.
  3. Distracted Driving
    In an age where we are all addicted to our phones, distracted driving has become a massive problem among truckers and other drivers as well. Distractions such as smartphones and navigation systems can divert attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  4. Impaired Driving
    Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains an issue across the country, and unfortunately, truck drivers are not immune. Intoxicated drivers endanger themselves and others. While regular drug testing is in place across trucking companies, measures like hair follicle testing are being implemented to address prolonged substance abuse as well.
  5. Poor Maintenance
    Neglected maintenance and faulty equipment transform trucks into potential hazards. Brake malfunctions, tire blowouts, and other mechanical failures can lead to catastrophic accidents. Adherence to maintenance regulations put forth by the state and federal agencies is vital for ensuring truck safety.
  6. Aggressive and Reckless Driving
    Behaviors like tailgating and reckless lane changes make roads dangerous for everyone. With their limited maneuverability and longer stopping distances, large trucks become especially hazardous when driven aggressively. Meeting deadlines at the expense of safety often results in avoidable accidents.
  7. Overloaded Cargo
    Balancing cargo weight within limits is critical for truck safety. Overloading compromises control and increases accident risks, especially with improper cargo securing. Shifting cargo can turn a truck into a potential danger, particularly during lane changes or sudden stops.
  8. Inadequate Driver Training
    New drivers often lack the experience to operate large trucks safely. While some receive training, real-world driving adds unique challenges. Inexperienced drivers navigating heavy traffic or tough weather conditions pose risks to themselves and others. Comprehensive training and preparation are essential for enhancing safety.

Understanding these common reasons for truck collisions in Texas sheds light on our roadway challenges. To increase safety, stricter enforcement of road regulations, improved driver education, and stringent industry standards are necessary.

We can limit truck accidents and protect lives on Texas roads by addressing these issues.

Most Common Injuries From Truck-Related Accidents

Truck-related accidents involving tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers usually result in some of the most severe injuries. This is due to the size and weight of the trucks and normal passenger cars.

Some of the most common injuries from these tragic accidents include:

  1. Whiplash and Neck Injuries
    The sudden impact of a truck collision can cause a rapid back-and-forth movement in the driver’s head and neck, leading to serious whiplash. These injuries can range from slight discomfort that can be resolved over time to severe pain and long-term mobility issues.
  2. Spinal Cord Injuries
    The sheer force of a truck collision can crush the spinal cord in an instant, resulting in partial or, in some cases, complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries tend to have lifelong consequences and can require permanent in-home care.
  3. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
    TBIs are common in truck-related accidents and can range from minor concussions or contusions to severe brain problems. Victims can have cognitive impairments, memory loss, and sudden personality changes.
  4. Broken Bones and Fractures
    Bones can easily break in truck-related accidents. Common fractures include those in the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis (since accidents happen while people are sitting).
  5. Internal Injuries (Bleeding)
    Blunt force trauma from a truck accident can cause severe internal injuries like organ damage, internal bleeding, or even ruptured organs. These injuries can go unnoticed but do require immediate medical attention.
  6. Lacerations and Abrasions
    During an accident, glass and metal debris are usually flying around. These fragments can cause cuts, deep lacerations, and abrasions. In certain cases, stitches may be required to stop the bleeding.
  7. Crush Injuries
    Drivers of smaller passenger vehicles that crash into 18-wheelers may suffer crush injuries. Since tractor-trailers are 5X the size, crush injuries can lead to tissue damage, nerve injury, and other severe complications.
  8. Burns
    In rare incidents, truck-related accidents can lead to fires or explosions. During these events, drivers and passengers may experience thermal or chemical burns from hazardous materials like gasoline.
  9. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Survivors of truck accidents may experience long-term psychological trauma. They may experience symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. If left untreated, the person’s quality of life will likely be affected.
  10. Fatalities
    In some cases, truck accidents can result in death due to the catastrophic nature of the collisions.

Overall, truck-related accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, from minor bruises to life-altering disabilities and fatalities.

Seeking immediate medical attention and legal assistance following a truck accident is crucial to ensuring proper treatment and pursuing compensation for damages incurred.

Truck Accidents In West Texas – 2023

Losing a loved one or being injured in an accident is terrible. The Permian Basin was no stranger to fatal and disastrous events in 2023.

Here are a few major accident stories from the year:

  • January 2023 – A woman was tragically killed after her car became wedged underneath an 18-wheeler on a major highway near Fresno, TX. This accident happened under icy conditions and caused a chain-reaction collision between multiple vehicles.
  • March 2023 – On Interstate 20, an 18-wheeler driver was arrested after his role in a collision that left one person dead. He had been driving for over 16 hours without the state-required rest.
  • November 2023 – A major crash in Odessa, TX, leaves one person dead. The crash happened early in the morning, involving a pickup truck and an 18-wheeler. The deceased driver disregarded a stop sign at a major intersection and collided with the tractor-trailer.

How Can Abraham Watkins Help You After A Truck Accident?

At Abraham Watkins, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a truck accident can take on victims and their families.

The aftermath can be overwhelming.

In these challenging times, our experienced team of truck accident attorneys steps in to provide you with the support, guidance, and advocacy you need.

Why You Need a Specialized Truck Accident Attorney

Truck accidents are not your typical passenger accidents.

They involve complex factors, including federal regulations, multiple liable parties, and substantial damages. That’s why having a legal team with specialized knowledge and a proven track record in handling truck accident cases is important.

Our dedicated truck accident attorneys deeply understand the unique aspects of these cases. We know how to investigate, negotiate, and litigate effectively to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Here’s how Abraham Watkins can assist you in the aftermath of a truck accident:

  • Thorough Investigation: We start by conducting a comprehensive investigation into the accident. This includes examining the accident scene, collecting evidence, reviewing police reports, and interviewing witnesses. We aim to establish liability and build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Identifying Liable Parties: Truck accidents often involve multiple parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, maintenance crews, and manufacturers. We determine all potentially liable parties to ensure no stone is left unturned in pursuing compensation.
  • Expert Consultations: We work with accident reconstruction specialists, medical experts, and economists to assess the extent of your injuries, property damage, and other losses. These experts help us accurately calculate the value of your claim.
  • Dealing with Insurers: Negotiating with insurance companies can be intimidating, especially when dealing with the trucking company’s insurers. Our attorneys have experience dealing with these complex negotiations and are skilled in securing fair settlements.
  • Litigation if Necessary: Our legal team is prepared to take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations. We have a successful track record of litigating truck accident cases and are ready to fight for your rights in the courtroom.
  • Maximizing Compensation: Our primary goal is to maximize your compensation. We seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. We are committed to helping you rebuild your life after a truck accident.
  • Compassionate Support: We understand the physical and emotional toll a truck accident can have on victims and their families. Our legal team provides support throughout the process, answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and guiding you every step of the way.

At Abraham Watkins, our mission is to support and advocate for individuals who have suffered a truck-related accident involving injury or death.

Everyone should have the best legal representation, regardless of their financial situation.

That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis. You won’t have to worry about upfront legal fees or expenses. We only get paid when you win your case and receive the money you deserve.

What To Do Next

Contact the legal team at Abraham Watkins today if you or someone you love has suffered injury or death from a truck-related accident in West Texas.

Let us put our experience and dedication to work for you, fighting tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the compensation you need to move forward. Your recovery is our top priority, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

You are not alone. Who you hire matters!

Contact us today for a free consultation at 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.