While truck driver mistakes are the main cause of commercial truck collisions, there are many ways that trucking companies can be negligent and lead to a crash and serious injuries. The following are only some examples of negligence for which trucking companies may be held responsible.
Every trucking company should have a careful hiring system to ensure that they do not allow anyone who is unsafe or unqualified to operate their commercial trucks. Truck companies should always review a potential driver’s health records, driving record, criminal record, and qualifications such as a valid commercial driver’s license and any necessary endorsements for the job.
In many cases, a company may not thoroughly vet an applicant or may hire friends or family members despite negative facts. A company may be deemed negligent if they hire an unlicensed commercial driver, someone with a history of driving under the influence or other serious traffic violations, someone with a serious and untreated health issues, or any other red flags that should indicate to a company that the driver will put motorists at risk of harm.
Insufficient Supervision or Discipline
As an employer, a trucking company should always stay aware of the actions of its employees. If a truck driver violates a regulation or law, the company should know through careful supervision and should take necessary disciplinary measures to prevent further danger in the future. For example, if a driver fails a drug or alcohol test or has been driving while impaired, a company should take immediate action to suspend the employee until they are sure the employee has received proper treatment.
If a driver is found to be violating hours of service regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),1 a trucking company should keep close track of their time records to ensure that they do not continue to commit such violations. If a company failed to properly supervise or discipline drivers, it could be help liable for any accidents that result from dangerous employees.
Neglecting Trucks in the Fleet
Whether a trucking company has one truck or an entire fleet of trucks, the company has the duty to keep those trucks in safe and working condition. All trucks should be regularly inspected for any possible defects that may need to be repaired. If any defects exist, they should be fixed before the truck goes back out onto the road. In addition to repairs, regular maintenance must be performed to prevent any issues on the road.
If a truck has been poorly maintained and brake failure or a tire blowout causes a crash, many people can be seriously injured. The injured accident victims would be able to hold the trucking company liable for their losses.
Failing to Perform Required Alcohol or Drug Tests
Because driving a large commercial truck while impaired by drugs and alcohol is extraordinarily dangerous, the FMCSA strictly regulates all types of impaired commercial driving. One requirement2 is that trucking companies must regularly perform random alcohol and drug testing on drivers, either before or after their shifts. In addition, if a driver is in an accident that causes serious injury or damage, an alcohol and drug screening must be performed.
When trucking companies do not perform the necessary chemical tests, it can allow drivers with alcohol or drug issues continue to drive while impaired and go undetected. If drivers know that their employers do not test, they may even be encouraged to push the envelope and drive while intoxicated.
Pushing Drivers to Violate FMCSA Regulations
In some circumstances, trucking companies have even encouraged drivers to violate certain regulations set out by the FMCSA. One common example is requesting that drivers make deliveries faster than they can while adhering to the hours of service regulations. If drivers are pushed to do so, they can become fatigued and can crash. In addition, companies may also create false records to make it appear as if their drivers are in compliance when they truly are violating the law.
Call to Speak with an Experienced Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney
At The Levin Firm, we are committed to holding negligent trucking companies liable for the harm they cause in truck collisions. If you have been injured in a truck crash, you need an attorney who can identify all possible liable parties so you can obtain the most compensation possible. Please contact our truck accident lawyers for a free consultation at (215) 825-5183 today.
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