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Truck Wrecks Make South Texas Roads More Dangerous Each Year
Date:3/22/2013

e with that. In 2008 there were only three fatalities in nine counties that involved a commercial vehicle. In 2011, there were 13. Last year, 47 fatalities in 40 wrecks with commercial vehicles."

Brown also noted that, according to DPS information, the total number of fatal accidents that involved a commercial vehicle jumped from 487 in 2011 to 818 in 2012 and 2012's number is more than quadruple the number of fatal wrecks that occurred in 2008.

He acknowledged that the big trucks that roar though Karnes City or Floresville aren't always at fault. But, too often, the trucks are poorly maintained and driven by under-trained drivers who have been behind the wheel for far too long. "For these trucking companies, time is money … and it costs time and money to make sure drivers are properly trained, to make sure trucks are properly maintained. We're investigating one wreck where the truck lacked even the most basic safety equipment," he said.

For example, he said, it’s not uncommon that oilfield drivers are forced into working a 20-hour shift and be provided a rig with bad brakes, bald tires and other defects and that would fail even the most cursory of safety inspections.

Texas DPS statistics bear out Brown's assertion. Each summer, DPS troopers conduct Operation Road Check, a weekend-long project where specially trained troopers stop big rigs at random and inspect them in an effort to improve highway safety.

Despite the event being held at about the same time each year, nearly a quarter of all the trucks inspected fail the inspections. In 2012, DPS stopped more than 8,000 trucks and placed 1,763 out of service for safety violations.

"Accident reports often blame oilfield truck drivers for the collisions they cause," said Brown. "The truth is usually much more com
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