A semi-truck crashed into the Houston Avenue Bridge causing a traffic tie-up and major damages to the truck, which lost its load. Luckily, no other vehicles were involved and there were no reported injuries.
Still, the truck accident brings to light a serious problem that occurs with some frequency on our roadways. Some of the accidents involve other vehicles and cause injuries to other drivers and passengers.
Truckers Need to be Aware of Low Bridges
The truck in this instance was heading east when it hit the 14.3-foot bridge. The bridge is admittedly one of the shortest, and newer bridges are required to provide clearance of 16.5 feet. Additionally, Texas law requires trucks to be no taller than 14 feet in height. However, many of the trucks that travel our roads are from other states, and so they may be taller.
According to Texas Department of Transportation, TXDOT, this particular bridge has been hit 23 times in the last four years by trucks that were too high to make it through. Truckers are not paying attention to the height of the bridge and may also be traveling too fast. This results in the truck hitting the bridge with great force. Sometimes the truck remains stuck until a towing crew can remove it from under the bridge.
Damage to Bridges
In addition to causing damages and injuries to others, trucks that hit bridges may cause structural damage to the bridge. After a truck hits a bridge it needs to be inspected before the area can be reopened to traffic. According to a recent investigative report by Channel 2 News, TXDOT has spent about a quarter of a million dollars in bridge repairs due to truck strikes. In some cases, the state is able to recoup damages from the trucking company. Other times, the company is unknown because some accidents are not reported.
Bridge Warning System for Trucks
TXDOT installed lighted warning boards and signs on both the eastbound and westbound sides of the bridge. The system warns truck drivers when their truck is too high to fit under the bridge. The board lights up and also provides instructions for drivers to take an alternate route. TXDOT reports that the signs are working properly. Just since the beginning of the year, the eastbound sign was triggered 10,245 times and the westbound sign was triggered 5,199 times.
Although these safety measures are in place, accidents continue to happen. A representative from TXDOT stated that the signs are helping but truck drivers still need to be more careful. They ask truck drivers to pay attention, stay on their assigned routes and maintain proper permits.
The bridge is slated for renovation and the height will be increased. This will take place as part of the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, which is not scheduled to begin until 2020.
Truck accidents can be serious and they often cause severe injuries to vehicle occupants. If you were hurt in a truck accident you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Contact our experienced trucking accident legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free case consultation.