Mental Health: A Hidden Cause of Big Truck Accidents in Texas
Truck accidents in Texas are caused by many things including the mental health of the driver.
Large truck crashes with passenger vehicles usually result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries for the people in the passenger vehicle. These crashes are often caused by the negligence of the commercial vehicle driver or the company that owns the large truck. While there are many ways a company or driver’s negligence can cause a crash, one that is rarely talked about is the mental health of the commercial vehicle driver.
Lots of Road Time = Lots of Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that around one-third of the 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. will be involved in a serious road accident at some point during their careers. These crashes, especially ones that result in a fatality, can have an adverse effect on a truck driver’s mental health. This can include causing a mental illness like PTSD.
According to The Atlantic, “Being in a wreck—or even seeing one—can cause enough stress and anxiety to become a diagnosable mental illness, like acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
What is PTSD?
As defined by the Mayo Clinic:
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
Also per the Mayo Clinic, symptoms may include:
- Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
- Always being on guard for danger
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
- Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Being easily startled or frightened
These symptoms can and do have an adverse impact on a commercial driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle. What’s even more concerning though, is that drivers who have PTSD don’t or are not able to get help for it because they are not able to schedule time away from work to be able to get the necessary diagnosis and treatment.
This results in dangerously unsafe truck drivers on our roadways who are not mentally or emotionally fit to be able to handle the rigors of driving a large commercial vehicle such as an 18-wheeler. Unfortunately, it’s not just the truck driver that ends up suffering, rather these illnesses can have major repercussions for everyone on the road around them as these mental illnesses can lead to a serious collision with ordinary and unsuspecting drivers.
If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck or are grieving the loss of a loved one that was, contact The Callahan Law Firm today for a free case evaluation