Dangerous Florida Trucking Company Practices
While much attention is focused on truck driver negligence when it comes to liability for accidents involving large commercial trucks, commercial drivers are not the only parties that may be responsible for causing serious accidents and injuries. Manufacturers of trucks may be liable if they sold defective truck parts that malfunctioned and caused a driver to lose control. Additionally, government entities may be negligent if they allow dangerous road hazards to exist that lead to a truck accident. If you suffer an injury in a truck accident, determining who was responsible is imperative to ensuring that you recover for your losses. For this reason, you should always have the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney who knows how to thoroughly investigate truck accidents to identify negligence.
One potentially negligent party that many people may not immediately consider is the trucking company who employed the truck driver and owned the truck that was involved. There are many ways that a trucking company can engage in negligent practices that may lead to truck accidents and serious injuries to motorists. The following are only some examples of negligent trucking company actions.
In order to drive a commercial truck, a driver must hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL),1 which is obtained after undergoing specific training and meeting certain qualifications. In addition, a commercial driver must hold a special license in order to drive certain types of vehicles, such as vehicles carrying hazardous materials. When hiring drivers, a trucking company must ensure that all its drivers hold the proper licenses and permits and the company should never allow an untrained or unqualified driver to operate its trucks. If a company fails to do so and injuries occur, the company was negligent and may be held liable for any losses that resulted.
Even if a trucking company took care in hiring qualified drivers, the company can still be negligent if it fails to make sure the drivers are complying with all regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)2 and other laws. Some companies tend to look the other way if drivers violate hours of service regulations or take other shortcuts in order to make more trips and, therefore, more money for the trucking company. Additionally, some trucking companies fail to perform the random drug and alcohol tests on drivers that are required by the FMCSA to prevent impaired driving or to properly discipline drivers who fail these tests.
Failing to properly maintain trucks
Because commercial trucks have so many parts that could malfunction and cause a driver to lose control and cause an accident, careful and regular inspection and maintenance is highly imperative for every truck that is on the road. A trucking company has the responsibility to routinely and thoroughly inspect every truck in its fleet and to make sure the necessary and appropriate maintenance is performed on the trucks whenever needed. Just a few the parts of a truck that can malfunction and cause accidents include:
* Steering systems
* Tires, wheels, and axles
When a poorly maintained truck causes an accident, the trucking company in charge of maintenance should be held responsible for all resulting injuries.
Encouraging dangerous driver practices
While some trucking companies are negligent in failing to meet certain safety standards, others engage in extremely dangerous behaviors by actually encouraging drivers to violate regulations so they can increase their bottom line. Some drivers have even reported having companies threaten their jobs if they refuse to drive longer shifts than allowed by FMCSA regulations3 or if they do not reach a destination fast enough (meaning they refused to violate speed limits). Such practices by trucking companies are extraordinarily dangerous and can result in severe injury or death of motorists.
Contact a qualified truck accident attorney in Clearwater, Florida for a free consultation
You always want to make sure you have an experienced truck accident lawyer who can identify negligent parties in your case and hold them accountable. If you have been injured, do not hesitate to call 727-451-6900 for a free consultation with an attorney at the Dolman Law Group today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756