Causes of Truck Accidents: When The Trucking Company Operates with Unsafe Drivers

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Richmond Truck Accident Lawyer 

By law, trucking companies are required to hire and train safe, qualified drivers.  When they fail to do so, they become liable for any trucking accident that occurs as a result.

There are many forms of negligence on the part of the trucking company regarding its commercial truck drivers: negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and negligent training, including actions such as:

  • Hiring drivers without a valid commercial license (CDL)
  • Failing to perform a background check into a driver's safety record
  • Not requiring drug and alcohol testing
  • Failure to fire a driver when he/she fails a drug test
  • Not providing proper training to drivers
  • Forcing employees to drive more hours in a day than permitted by law
  • Failing to enforce disciplinary action when truck drivers violate regulations

Through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking companies must follow specific guidelines aimed at ensuring the safety of all motorists.  For example, a truck driver must have a valid commercial license and drivers must undergo random drug and alcohol testing.  When trucking companies are careless or in a hurry to fill vacant truck driver positions, they may overlook background checks or rush through training in an attempt to satisfy commitments to their customers.[1]

When an inexperienced or unqualified driver causes a serious accident, the trucking company is responsible.  Safe driving requires a comprehensive safety program with regular review and updates.  Many trucking companies do not treat their drivers properly or give them the tools to operate a tractor trailer safely, or recognize the tough job a trucker has.[2]

If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of the truck driver or trucking company, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.  It is important to contact an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney who understands how to acquire and analyze employee records and training records from the trucking company, including hiring records, dates of employment, training records and other relevant evidence.

About the Author: Clayton Allen is a tractor trailer accident lawyer in Richmond Virginia with over 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases.

[1] See the following from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website:  "The tremendous demand for qualified truck drivers has placed a burden on companies'  recruiters. It has been reported that there is such a demand for truck drivers that some recruiters will hire unqualified drivers, if the alternative is having trucks sit idle in their lots." www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/.../driver-retention-safety.pdf.
[2] "Driving a truck, especially long-haul, is a difficult lifestyle. There are long and irregular hours, poor living conditions on the road, and large amounts of time away from home. Often these conditions are exacerbated by poor treatment from shippers, receivers, and even their own company personnel.  There is strong evidence of a link between the economic and scheduling pressures on drivers and crashes and violations of hours-of-service regulations. Analyses of how working conditions affect safety revealed that truckers who drive in excess of hours-of-service regulations, young drivers, and interstate drivers are the most likely to have an increased relative risk of crash involvement.  Addressing the poor working conditions that contribute to driver turnover and safety problems is an urgent need in the industry." Also from FMCSA, at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/.../driver-retention-safety.pdf.
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