Truck drivers travel thousands of miles and spend countless hours on the road each year. Because of this, there are certain requirements in place to improve roadway safety and reduce the chances of crashes. Not all trucking companies, however, abide by these laws. Recent investigations have held trucking corporations under heavy scrutiny.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2016, over 4,500 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. Nearly 120,000 large trucks and buses were involved in collisions that resulted in injuries. These numbers are on the rise.
In order to understand why these events happen, you may benefit from understanding where trucking companies sometimes make mistakes. First, let’s go over the most common causes of truck accidents.
Negligent Companies Hire Negligent Drivers
While some truck accidents are related to inclement weather or defective parts, the majority are a result of human error. Below you’ll see some of the most common behaviors exhibited by truck drivers who end up in crashes.
Speeding. An accident can happen when a truck driver is operating their vehicle faster than the posted speed limit sign or too fast for the weather conditions. While truckers are generally aware of the dangers of speeding in such large vehicles, some may choose to do so because of pressing deadlines from their employers.
Aggressive Driving. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, failing to stop or yield, deliberately blocking attempts to pass, and ignoring traffic signs and signals.
Neglecting Road Laws. The road laws developed at the state and federal level are in existence for a reason. The laws are established to improve the safety of the roads. When truck drivers purposely neglect road signs, weight limit laws, or cargo protocols, they put themselves and other drivers at risk.
Distracted Driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents in the United States. Because truck drivers are on the road for long periods of time, they may get bored and decide to text or access social media on their phones, eat or drink, or watch television. In some cases, their minds may just wander.
Drunk Driving. While no one should get behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving a truck requires intense concentration at all times. Truck drivers who choose to drive drunk are especially dangerous because of the size of the vehicle they’re operating.
Improper Maintenance Routine. Because of how often they’re driven, tractor trailers need to be properly maintained. This includes examining the tires, checking the engine, changing the oil, and keeping log books so the maintenance is on record. When this isn’t completed, the trucks risk malfunctioning.
Service Hour Violations. Unfortunately, truck drivers are often overworked and tasked with meeting strict deadlines. Because of this, many choose to forgo resting regulations and drive longer than they should. Falling asleep behind the wheel can be deadly.
Hiring Laws for Trucking Companies
The FMCSA has specific guidelines in place in an attempt to ensure trucking companies only hire reliable drivers. In general, trucking employers are supposed to make sure the applicant has the proper commercial driving license and proper certifications and trainings, check the driving record for any past incidents, and screen medical history, drug use, and past criminal behavior. Unfortunately, some employers cut corners.
FMCSA has a comprehensive list of laws regarding trucking safety. Their laws establish guidelines for the company, driver, drug and alcohol testing, HazMat, hours of services, household goods, USDOT number, vehicle, and vehicle marking.
If you feel as though your legal matters after being involved in a truck accident aren’t going the way you want, we can help. Contact us today for more information.