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Houston cities petition for funding to help curb truck accidents

It doesn't matter where you live, whether it's Katy, Missouri City, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Baytown, Pearland or Pasadena, traffic is heavy in virtually every part of Houston. Truckers pass through the city as they head to or from the port of Galveston hauling goods. While tractor-trailers play an integral role in the city's economy, they present a safety hazard to many of the city's residents and visitors.

If you look at the large potholes or cracks in the pavement, then you realize how many large, heavy trucks drive down Houston's streets each day.

Then, if you stop at an intersection and look around, you'll probably see car parts or broken glass lining the street. You may even see wooden crosses as well. These are reminders of catastrophic crashes and lives that have been lost.

Right now, the responsibility for citing commercial vehicles who violate state and federal trucking laws belongs almost exclusively to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS). State lawmakers have recently proposed new bills aimed at authorizing certain sheriff's and police departments to enforce these same laws as well.

If the proposed bills are passed, then some Houston cities may be given additional funding by the state to train commercial vehicle officers to make stops of tractor-trailers.

Proponents of the bill argue that this would help reduce the number of truck accidents in Houston. There's been an uptick in them in recent years due to TxDPS officers having been laid off, offered early retirement or sent to the border with Mexico.

Texas Department of Transportation data shows crashes increased by 1,314 to 7,555 in between 2014 and 2017 in this region.

When TxDPS officers recently performed a patrol in Katy, they stopped truckers for reckless driving and overweight trailers.

In the past two years, the U.S. Department of Transportation has provided 65 local Texas police departments with $60 million in funding to train commercial vehicle officers. If funding is extended to Katy, officials say that they'll step up their enforcement of local streets in hopes that it results in fewer crashes.

The damage that results from a crash between a car and a tractor-trailer is often catastrophic. If a motorist survives such a collision, then they often have permanent injuries. Seriously hurt crash victims can benefit from reaching out to a truck accident attorney who's prepared to seek compensation for driver negligence on their behalf.

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