Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 12, 2015 – The more big rigs on the road hauling higher loads, the more accidents happen. More accidents mean more injuries and deaths.
With the construction and oil boom in Texas comes far more heavy-duty truck traffic carrying everything from backhoes to crane parts, from oil rigging to large excavation equipment. “It is no surprise that on a fairly regular basis a truck rams into a bridge, misses a sharp corner due to the load being off balance, and turns over on its side, or gets jammed under a bridge overpass, unable to move. Accidents like this can be deadly,” pointed out Bobby Lee, of Austin’s personal injury law firm Lee, Gober & Reyna.
One such recent accident involved a backhoe, loaded on the flat deck of an 18-wheeler, hitting a bridge between Wayside and McCarthy in the Houston area. When hauling backhoes, it is common practice to stow the arms angled and tucked in to their lowest point. That was not the case in this incident and the arms were higher than they should have been. Luckily, the only harm done was to the bridge.
Bridges in the area are taking a real beating, especially within the Loop 610 where numerous bridges have scars to tell the tales of poorly stowed loads, and where a record of a number of deaths have occurred at their abutments.
Permits for hauling larger loads are mandatory and trucking companies know this. However, those same companies may have already hauled larger than usual loads many times without reprisal. For this reason, companies honor permits more in the breach and see them as another expense to be cut where possible. According to Texas A&M Transportation Institute researcher Dan Middleton, trucking companies know they need permits to haul larger loads, but “some just don’t care.”
“The major issue here is not just the higher accident rate,” said Lee, “it has to do with the complexities of permitting, policing and trying to keep track of larger-than-normal loads. Carriers are doubling up to maximize their transport time and reduce the number of trips made to save money – a move that may cost someone their life.”
The economy in the Houston area is on a significant upward swing, and has resulted in increased truck traffic. In 2013 there were 26 reports detailing lost loads along the highways and byways around Houston. In 2014 there has been a jump in lost load reports to 36.
“For those who have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, or have perhaps been hit by a lost load, seek the legal counsel of a seasoned trucking accident attorney. These cases often have complex jurisdictional issues and you need a lawyer to help you seek compensation for your injuries,” Lee added.
Lee, Gober & Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road #220-S
Austin, Texas 78759