Over the last two years, the number of motor vehicle accidents on the highways has gone way up in Texas, including crashes involving semis and other commercial trucks. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there are several reasons for this, mostly related to the pandemic and related supply chain problems.
The problem is not confined to West Texas or even the state. Nationwide, fatalities in traffic accidents went up 7.2 percent in 2020 and increased again by 10.5 percent in the first three months of last year. In the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the number of deadly wrecks involving commercial trucks has been climbing for the last two years. What could be causing these grim numbers?
Lack of experienced truckers on the roads
The pandemic caused many older, more experienced truck drivers to retire. As a result, the trucking industry is dealing with a huge manpower shortage. The drivers who are out there may be new and inexperienced, and their employers might be pressuring them to work beyond federal regulations that are supposed to limit how many hours they work in a row without a rest break.
Then there are “hotshot” trucking businesses that deliver time-sensitive loads across short distances. They often hire drivers straight out of school and promise a pass on their CDL test. Thus, you have a fleet of drivers who are less adept at avoiding collisions and more exhausted than they used to be.
Trucking accidents will always be a problem
Hopefully, this grim trend will turn around in 2022. But it’s an unfortunate fact that truck accidents will remain a safety hazard everywhere in Texas for the foreseeable future. People in places like Odessa will continue to get hit by negligent truck drivers and suffer serious, life-altering injuries or lose a loved one in a crash.