Truck drivers are human beings — they can and do make mistakes, such as driving while fatigued, impaired or distracted. These mistakes can take the form of improper turns, lane drifting or braking late.
Tractor-trailer accident victims are lucky if they manage to walk away from a wreck with only minor injuries.
Negligent drivers must be held responsible but so too should the trucking companies who hired the individual at-fault for the wreck.
Poor management, a profit-before-safety attitude, and cutting corners while vetting, training or supervising drivers can contribute to a catastrophic wreck in the future. Such practices are unacceptable and should be rooted out.
The trucking company may claim the tractor-trailer crash was an isolated incident or that the driver didn’t reflect company values. The trucking company doesn’t want lawyers looking into their failures and the systemic issues in management that contributed to the wreck.
That is why hiring an attorney and creating a timeline of events and facts is so important after a wreck. A good team of attorneys investigates the factors that led up to an accident and attempts to show the negligence of both the driver and the trucking company.
Tractor-Trailer Accident Investigations Are Complicated
The at-fault driver could be the owner-operator of the truck (a.k.a. tractor), or driving the tractor from one company and hauling the trailer for a different company.
Some companies designate their drivers as “independent contractors” to avoid liability. But the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) state that anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle under a motor carrier’s operating authority is an employee.
When an attorney investigates a trucking company they look to see if and when the company failed to follow the laws and regulations that exist to protect truck drivers and the public.
When hiring a driver, trucking companies are supposed to perform a background check to examine a potential driver’s driving record and administer a drug and alcohol test. This information is kept in the driver’s investigative file.
The driver is then given road and equipment tests during training to ensure they are a competent and capable driver.
Negligence occurs when a trucking company:
- Hires a driver who fails to meet basic qualifications or has a poor driving record
- Administers or has a third-party company administer improper road tests by a trainer who lacks the proper qualifications
- Tolerates or encourages repeated safety violations by a driver
Trucking companies who are serious about holding drivers to a high standard regularly audit driver’s service logs, give annual performance reviews, provide ongoing safety training, monitor drivers via GPS and drive cams, and administer post-crash blood and alcohol testing.
All companies should agree to hire safe, competent, well-trained drivers. Any red flags (i.e. unsafe behaviors, missing files, etc.) should prompt immediate actions (additional training, suspended driving privileges, firing).
Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers
A tractor-trailer collision can leave victims with serious long-term or life-long injuries. Trucking companies will start working with their lawyers as soon as an accident is reported.
To protect your rights, hire the truck accident experts at Gary Martin Hays & Associates. We don’t just investigate the crash — we find out all the facts leading up to it and hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligence.