Fatalities and serious injuries involving 18-wheeler accidents on I-45 are common in Texas. Interstate 45 extends from the Gulf of Mexico to Dallas and crosses through major metropolitan areas like Galveston and Houston. Urban traffic congestion, speed, construction, and distracted driving are contributing factors in fatalities and serious injury accidents involving 18-wheelers on I-45. Due to an 18-wheeler’s size, weight, and inability to stop on a dime, large commercial truck accidents tend to cause more property damage, be more lethal, and involve a higher number of victims.
In 2023 alone, I-45 has seen numerous accidents involving big trucks, including:
- A multiple-vehicle accident on I-45 near Houston involved 12 to 14 vehicles that blocked multiple lanes of traffic and sent several people to the hospital.
- An accident between a tanker truck and a large U-Haul caused a hazmat spill that closed I-45 North freeway lanes for 11 hours.
- A single-vehicle crash on I-45 killed the driver of an 18-wheeler when he overcorrected and flipped the vehicle south of Centerville.
Interstate 45 has gained a reputation over the years for being a particularly lethal stretch of highway, making state, national, and international headlines:
- One report named I-45 the most dangerous road in the United States, as the section of I-45 between Galveston and Dallas averages 56.5 fatal accidents for every 100 miles of highway.
- In 2019 alone, seventy-three people died on the stretch of I-45 that runs through Houston.
- Money Geek included I-45 on its list of Texas’ deadliest roads.
- Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) shows that Texas has the highest number of fatal crashes involving large trucks in the U.S.
- Texas Department of Transportation accident statistics from 2022 recorded 38,621 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. Of those crashes, 612 involved at least one fatality.
These statistics give I-45 the distinction of having the highest fatality rate of any Texas highway and nearly twice the average rate of fatality accidents of other major highways in the state.
Why Is I-45 So Dangerous for 18-Wheelers?
Due to their size and weight, large commercial trucks require longer reaction times to execute defensive driving maneuvers or to stop. There are several factors that contribute to the increased number of 18-wheeler accidents on I-45:
- Volume of Traffic: Roughly 275,000 vehicles travel I-45 each day, including commercial and commuter traffic moving between large urban centers. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road makes it hard to maintain a consistent speed on I-45, increasing the risk of rear-end accidents involving large trucks.
- Speed: Texas has some of the highest highway speed limits in the country at 85 mph compared to 70 or 75 mph. Speed is a factor in large truck accidents, leading to rollover crashes with severe outcomes for other motorists.
- Distracted Driving: Truck drivers are under intense pressure to deliver loads in a timely fashion. As a result, they may engage in time-saving behavior, like talking on a cell phone or eating while operating, that distracts them from the road. Drivers in other vehicles who take their eyes off of the road may not notice that they are in a truck’s danger zone.
- Driver Fatigue: Despite federal laws that cap the number of hours that an 18-wheeler driver can operate, fatigue is a serious issue in the commercial trucking industry. The National Transportation Safety Board found that driver fatigue was a contributing factor in 31 percent of fatal truck accidents. Trucking companies may not follow the laws governing driving hours. Even when they do, drivers can become fatigued for other reasons, causing them to fall asleep at the wheel or react too slowly to prevent an accident.
- Construction: It’s no secret that Texas highways undergo construction frequently, and I-45 is no exception. Blocked lanes and changing traffic patterns decrease visibility, limit space, and confuse drivers.
- Drunk Drivers: Drivers who operate vehicles on I-45 while under the influence of drugs or alcohol also increase the risk of accidents for everyone on the road.
What Can I Do if I’ve Been Injured in an 18-Wheeler Crash on I-45?
If you or a family member has suffered catastrophic injuries in an accident involving a semi-truck on I-45, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Insurance companies and trucking operations try to avoid large payouts for accidents caused by their drivers. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. The personal injury attorneys at Morris & Dewett will look out for your interests.
- Multi car accident near Houston
- Tanker truck vs. U-Haul accident
- 18 wheeler kills one, injures another near Centerville
- Most deadly roads in every country- Budget Direct
- I-45 named deadliest road in United States
- 10 deadliest roads in TX- Money Geek
- Click2Houston: 1-45 declared most dangerous U.S. highway
- High Speed Limits in TX
- Safetrucking.org (by state- number of deaths involving large trucks/showing speed as factor)
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- National Traffic Safety Board
- Baumgartner Law Firm
- 2022 TDOT fatality stats