Laws Trucking Companies Break That Cause Crashes
Truck accidents account for many serious injuries and deaths in the US every year. Accidents are commonly caused by driver fatigue or negligence, speeding, and improper vehicle maintenance. However, the trucking company can also be held liable for a truck accident if they fail to follow industry regulations.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help get you the money you need to cover the resulting medical bills. Cofman Townsley helps residents in the St. Louis area receive damages and compensation after accidents that aren’t their fault. Our St. Louis car accident lawyers have experience gathering evidence and building claims to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
There’s been an increased volume of shipping since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Trucking companies are facing more pressure than ever to push their drivers harder to meet consumer demand while looking for ways to cut costs and move freight faster.
Trucking companies may try to save money by pressuring their driver to break laws. For example, trucking companies may suggest that drivers increase their speeds past the legal limit to make better time.
Traveling at higher speeds increases your risk of getting into an accident. It takes longer for your vehicle to stop if you’re speeding, and it leaves less time to react to sudden changes or dangers on the road. Because trucks already take longer to slow and come to a stop than ordinary passenger vehicles because of their immense weight, this makes speeding in a truck very dangerous. It’s easier for a truck driver to lose control over their vehicle while speeding.
Trucking companies may also force their drivers to work longer hours, well past the federally regulated limits. They may ask their truck drivers to alter or fraudulently fill out their logbook. Working longer hours without the proper rest leads to more fatigued drivers and a greater risk of accidents. Studies suggest that driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Fatigue slows down your reaction time and your ability to pay close attention to driving road conditions. Fatigue and drowsy driving were responsible for 697 vehicle accident fatalities in 2019.
New truck drivers undergo a comprehensive screening before they are hired. Trucking companies are required to perform background checks of the potential employee, including any information from a criminal record and their motor vehicle record.
Trucking companies must also check the driver:
- Is properly licensed for the type of truck they’ll be driving
- Their license hasn’t been suspended or restricted
- Is free of drugs like opioids, marijuana, and cocaine
- Has no health problems preventing them from driving long hours
Trucking companies may decide to cut corners if they’re having a hard time finding new drivers. They may skip running background checks or checking the motor vehicle history of a new driver, and fail to uncover if a driver has a history of DUI or a suspended license. Companies might hire drivers with a commercial driver’s license to drive any vehicle, regardless of what class they’re licensed to drive. Or trucking companies may simply not care if a new driver has a history of accidents in their motor vehicle record.
Not following the proper hiring practices puts truck drivers and others on the road at risk. Inexperienced and reckless truck drivers are more at risk of an accident if they don’t know how to handle the vehicle they’re driving. Following proper hiring practices and training ensures the safety of everyone on the road.
Keeping vehicles maintained is crucial to prevent accidents. This is especially true for vehicles like commercial trucks that may travel more than 100,000 miles in a single year, which means significantly more wear and tear than on a typical passenger vehicle.
Truck drivers need to be trained to inspect their vehicles before, during, and after taking them on the road. A poorly maintained tire on a semi-truck can cause a blowout on the highway. Meanwhile, a truck with bad brakes can crash into another vehicle if they don’t have enough room to stop.
Cracks in the windshield or bad wiper blades can affect the truck driver’s visibility on the road. A problem with the coupling device or locks on a truck can cause the cargo trailer to detach, creating a huge traffic hazard.
Trucking companies may instruct their drivers to skip inspections or perform safety inspections less often to save time and money. Companies would rather the driver spend the time on the road instead of using it for an inspection they don’t think is necessary.
Trucking companies might also have drivers skip inspections because they don’t want to know about truck defects. The company may not have the money to pay for vehicle repairs and not want to know about problems.
But this is negligence, and trucking companies can and should be held liable for accidents their drivers cause because they were instructed to ignore inspections or federal laws intended to prevent accidents.
State and federal regulations for the trucking industry are in place to keep everyone on the road safe. When trucking companies bend or break these rules, they’re putting their drivers and the public at risk.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, seek legal advice right away. The legal team at Cofman Townsley will review your case and take on trucking companies that break the rules. Contact Cofman Townsley today for a free consultation.