According to the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents on United States roadways during 2018, marking the second consecutive year that motor vehicle fatalities declined. The decrease in fatal traffic accidents comes even as more people drove in 2018. Of the categories assessed, speeding was the most predominant factor, accounting for 9,378 of the total fatalities. Fatalities decreased in almost all categories with the exception of crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists, and large trucks. The largest decline was seen in fatal motor vehicle accidents involving children ages fourteen and younger. From 2017 to 2018, pedestrian fatalities increased by three percent to 6,283, representing the most pedestrian deaths since 1990. The number of bicyclist deaths increased by more than six percent from 2017, accounting for 857 of the fatalities reported in 2018. Large-truck occupant deaths increased approximately one percent from 2017. The Texas Department of Transportation also reported a 5.84 percent decline in fatal motor vehicle accidents from 2017 to 2018. However, there were no fatality-free days on Texas roadways in 2018.
A Hidalgo County jury recently issued an $80 million verdict to a truck driver who fell asleep while driving along I-59 in Alabama in 2015. The plaintiff, Lauro Lozano, sued his bosses for forcing him to falsify his logs and continue driving when he should have taken a 34-hour restart.
A jury in Dallas returned a $37.6 million verdict against Honda in February 2019 after a nine-day trial. The trial surrounded 27-year-old Sarah Millburn, who was left quadriplegic with only minimal use of her arms and hands after an accident in 2015. The crash occurred when Sarah was riding as an Uber passenger in a 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan that was T-boned by a pickup truck.
In 2016, four trucking companies were racing down Highway 20 near Burns, Oregon. The professional truck drivers worked for companies like Horizon Transport and Smoot Enterprises. Witnesses say the trucks were driving fast and furiously down the highway for more than 90 miles until they came to a bend in the highway. One truck was going around the blind turn in the road while driving in the opposite lane. The truck then hit an RV driven by an Oregon couple. The collision was head-on, killing the wife and severely injuring the husband.
Imagine this scenario: you're driving down the freeway, and then one of your tires goes flat. Your family is in the car with you, so you pull to the side of the freeway and begin to change the tire. Unbeknownst to you, further down the road approaching you is an 18-wheeler, owned and operated by Acme, Inc., one of the largest distributors of home goods in America. As the 18-wheeler approaches, it glides to the shoulder, striking your car, killing all the occupants. The weather is clear, the road is straight and flat, visibility is clear for over a mile. Who may be held responsible for this horrific act?
On April 19, 2019, the driver of an 18-wheeler that was headed eastbound on I-20 near the Cleburne Highway exit caused a collision that left a 44-year-old woman dead and nine others injured.
Truck driver Lauro Lozano filed suit against JNM Express, Omega Freight Logistics, and Anca Transport and alleged that his boss made him falsify his log book to appear that he rested for the federally required 34 hours between two different routes. In reality, Mr. Lozano had finished a long route when he was asked by his boss to begin another route from Texas to Maryland.
Most know that tractor-trailers traveling at highway speeds pose serious risks to motorists. However, we often think that the risks are confined to others on the roadway; yet truck drivers themselves face danger.
A man who was struck while driving his motorcycle and dragged over one hundred yards by a Southern California Gas Co. truck has agreed to resolve his lawsuit for $46 million. The jury awarded the injury driver and his wife $41.8 million in compensatory damages. However, the parties reached the settlement agreement while the jury was deliberating the punitive damages portion of the case. Compensatory damages are sought to make the injured plaintiff whole, while punitive damages are awarded to punish the actions of defendants.
The Permian Basin shale oil boom has brought billions of dollars and numerous high-paying jobs to Texas, and it has brought the United States to the verge of surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the top oil producer in the world. It has also brought a large demand for trucking, and, with it, a large number of truck accidents.