Common Safety Oversights by Trucking Companies
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Brandon L. Beagley with Sloan Firm.
Trucking accidents can be catastrophic when they occur, but can luckily be mitigated by proper attention to safety on behalf of both the truck drivers and trucking companies. Most truck drivers are experienced individuals dedicated to safe driving conduct; however, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to pressure their drivers to break safety regulations in the interest of increased profit. Cutting corners is one of the biggest ways that trucking companies put their drivers and others on the road at risk, and although there are many types of safety oversights, some are more common than others. If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident, reach out to a truck accident attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
Common safety oversights committed by trucking companies include but are not limited to the following:
- Hours of service violations: Truck drivers are required to stop and rest after certain periods of time spent driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) details these regulations in the hopes that truckers spending days on the road away from their family will not drive while fatigued, protecting themselves and others. Hours of service requirements may vary depending on the type of rest break taken as well as its duration. For example, property-carrying drivers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours at a time after they have received a consecutive 10 hours off duty. Additionally, drivers must stop to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for a period of 8 hours. Unfortunately, trucking companies have been known to pressure drivers to violate these hours of service rules in the interest of staying on the road as long as possible, increasing the bottom line. The problem with this lies in the fact that fatigued driving is considered one of the biggest risks to truckers and anyone else sharing the road with a large truck or tractor-trailer.
- Driving log violations: Truck drivers are required to keep logs recording a variety of data, including their hours of service. Unfortunately, some truckers have been known to falsify these logs; even worse, some trucking companies are aware of this log falsification and even keep two sets of logs—the real ones and the ones they show to inquiring parties. New technology has made falsifying logs harder, as many of them are recorded electronically. However, truck accident attorneys have seen trucking companies finding work-arounds to continue falsifying these important records which could make or break a victim’s case after an accident.
- Traffic violations: Speeding is one of the biggest risks truck drivers undertake both to their own safety and that of other passenger vehicles sharing the same road. When truck drivers speed habitually, the trucking companies are more than likely aware that the traffic violation is occurring and are making no effort to correct it. In fact, trucking companies have been known to encourage their drivers to break speed limits and ignore other important traffic safety rules and recommendations in the interest of shortening trips and getting to their destinations as quickly as possible. Speeding in any vehicle is dangerous, but large trucks and 18 wheelers are considered particularly dangerous when traveling over the speed limit as their ability to brake and change direction quickly are inhibited by the overall size and weight of the vehicle. This same challenge of tractor-trailers is why standard vehicle drivers are encouraged to slow down and give large trucks as much room as possible so they have the time they need to react to any hazards on the road.
As a general rule of thumb, if a truck isn’t moving, it isn’t making money. Additionally, the faster a delivery is made, the better for overall profits. These facts unfortunately motivate some trucking companies to incentivize drivers to violate industry safety protocol, putting themselves and others at increased risk of bodily injury, trauma, and even death. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a large truck or 18 wheeler, multiple parties could be liable. Reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer to learn more about common safety oversights or for help filing a claim.