When most people think about truck accidents, they usually look to place blame on a negligent driver. In many cases, though, the accident can be traced to negligence on the part of the trucking company itself. Trucking companies are responsible not only for making sure that vehicles are properly maintained in safe working condition, but also for ensuring that their drivers are competent and well-trained.
Trucking companies that do not comply with safety regulations can be shut down by the federal government. Late last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shuttered a Tennessee trucking company out of concerns it posed a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
The FMCSA’s review of the company’s operations found a number of severe safety violations. Investigators found that the company’s trucks were not being properly maintained and that the company was not checking to see if its drivers were qualified and free from the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, FMCSA investigators noted a number of violations of “hours-of-service” rules, which regulate the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road without taking a break.
In the last six months, company drivers have been involved in two truck accidents caused by improperly maintained vehicles or poorly supervised drivers. Although no humans were killed, the accidents did result in the death of four horses.
Trucking companies have a legal duty to conduct their business in a way that keeps other motorists safe. When an accident is caused because of a breach of that duty, the victims have a right to seek monetary damages in a civil lawsuit.
Source: The Trucker, “FMCSA finds Tennessee company an imminent safety hazard,” July 2, 2012.