Last year Texas carried out 534,304 truck inspections. It is a staggering number of inspections and a significant hike from business as usual, as figures in past years ran much lower. Why the enormous increase in truck inspections? The answer appears to be simple: oilfield operations.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), the state has an unenviable record of coming in 5th place for truck fatality crashes and 4th for the sheer number of truck inspections. The numbers cited by the TDPS reveal there were roughly 10.3 inspections for every lane-mile on Interstate highways in 2013, a jump of nearly 20 percent over inspections in 2011 of 8.8 per lane-mile.
In the Eagle Ford Shale area, and in numerous other surrounding locations, there are twisted interconnected interstate highways that boast some of the highest speed limits in the nation. An ever increasing number of big rigs servicing the oilfields traverse these highways. It’s not just U.S.-based trucking traffic though. There are multiple Mexican carriers hunkered down along the border that travel in the same commercial trucking zones.
In an attempt to keep the highways a safer place to drive for everyone, the TDPS has been aggressively issuing violations and focusing in on truck maintenance. The greater focus on maintenance is, in part, due to the fact that The Lone Star State is in the lead in the U.S. for maintenance violations when all violations are tallied.
Are the highways a safer place because of more aggressive enforcement by the TDPS? Some argue that they are, but the accident statistics say otherwise. Fatal truck accidents happen for other reasons than just poor maintenance, such as distracted driving. As the human factor is likely to remain in the equation for the foreseeable future, big rig accidents are likely to continue to happen, and victims are going to need the expert services of a trucking injury attorney to recover compensation.