Category: Truck Accidents

Are Odessa Truck Drivers Putting Profit Ahead of Safety?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

The Permian Basin economy depends on commercial trucks, but our lives depend on them being driven safely. Commercial trucks can do tremendous harm because they’re much larger, more challenging to operate, and take more time and distance to come to a stop than passenger vehicles. If you mix this with a poorly maintained or overloaded truck and a driver who’s distracted or tired, it can lead to severe injuries or death.

The Dangers of Unsafe Trucks in Odessa

Truck drivers and trucking companies in the regions have a job to do: Move cargo from one place to another on time and budget. The need to get from one point to another by a given time can cause drivers to go too fast with not enough sleep.

Hours behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer can leave a driver tired, distracted, and not focused on the traffic around him. This causes unsafe drivers in Midland-Odessa and other Permian Basin communities like Pecos, Andrews, Seminole, Monahans, Jal, and Loving, NM, not to mention throughout the country.

A Death a Month in Ector County Due to Commercial Truck Accidents

The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that 613 people were killed in 543 accidents involving commercial trucks in the state in 2019. There were another 1,124 accidents where it’s suspected 1,471 serious injuries occurred. In Ector County that year, it’s estimated there were:

  • 12 fatalities caused in 10 commercial vehicle accidents
  • 22 suspected severe injuries resulting from 20 vehicle crashes

These accidents can happen on a local street or I-20 as long-haul trucks travel across the country. These crashes are especially dangerous because a passenger vehicle can easily be destroyed by an 80,000-pound truck traveling at highway speeds.

Death & Severe Injuries in Icy I-20 Truck Wreck

A 2014 crash in Odessa on I-20 resulted in a $90 million verdict after a 2018 trial, reports 6News. Jennifer Blake, who filed the lawsuit, and her children were passengers in a pickup when it lost control on ice. They traveled eastbound but ended up on the westbound side when it was hit by a tractor-trailer owned by Werner Truck.

Blake’s 7-year-old son was killed, and her 12-year-old daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her a person with quadriplegia. Jennifer and another son also suffered extensive brain injuries. The jury agreed with her claims the truck’s inexperienced driver made a reckless decision to drive in icy conditions.

Plaintiffs alleged the driver was also driving too fast for conditions and that Werner pushed the driver to get to California despite the weather.

Truck Driver Arrested After Fatal Odessa Crash

Ranjit Singh was arrested in April 2020 for manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon due to an accident that killed Amber Sahagun of Decatur and injured another report’s CBS7. Police state the tractor-trailer driver failed to control the truck’s speed and had been driving for more than 16 hours without proper rest, violating a federal truck safety regulation.

This accident also happened on I-20 after traffic backed up due to construction work. Sahagun was a passenger in a car that was behind a pickup that stopped in a westbound lane. Singh’s truck rear-ended the car and pushed it into the pickup. The car’s driver was seriously injured in the crash.

The Oil & Gas Industry Needs Trucks, Not All of Them Are Driven Safely

The Permian Basin fracking boom has brought a lot of wealth, jobs, and truck accidents to the area. Trucks are needed to carry sand and other materials to drilling sites, and trucks leave with raw materials for the refining process.

Drivers could earn a very decent salary for the work. But they may drive 12-hour shifts, day and night, six days a week, on local roads not built or designed to handle this kind of traffic. Drivers can be fatigued, distracted, and unfamiliar with road conditions. This puts local and oilfield workers at risk.

Get the Legal Help You Need from Kemmy Law Firm

Truck accident cases don’t prove themselves, and conditions won’t improve unless people pursue what they deserve when a trucking company or truck driver acts with disregard. To get justice and what you need, your case requires evidence, expert testimony, attorneys who know Texas law, and how to make a compelling case to a jury. There’s too much at stake in these cases to try to go it alone.

The Kemmy Law Firm is family-run and has more than 50 years of combined experience representing injured clients. We practice in West Texas, Hobbs, New Mexico, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles vehicle accidents involving everything from motorcycles to semi-trucks.

We will fight for your right to fair compensation for the harm you suffered. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.

Call us at (432) 400-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.