If you’re a resident of the Lone Star State, you’re already at high risk for being involved in a crash with a large truck or 18-wheeler. Texas has the highest truck accident rate in the country, with over 200 fatal crashes reported every year. The Texas Department of Transportation has discovered that over two-thirds of Texas truck wrecks occurred in rural areas, and factors in the crash usually included speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence.
So why are so many of these crashes happening for reasons that are clearly against federal and state trucking laws? It is not surprising that many truckers fall victim to distractions, the use of electronic devices, drugs, or the pressure to get there just a little faster.
Trucking companies choose to prioritize profits over the safety of their employees and over the safety of everyone else on the road. That can mean they choose not to install inexpensive systems in their trucks that prevent drivers from using their cell phones. If you have been injured or you've lost a loved one because of a reckless trucker, you need to know what the truck driver was doing at the time of the wreck and if the trucking company knew of and condoned of their employee's dangerous behavior.
What rules are in place to keep reckless truckers off our roadways?
Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's safety regulations. These trucking regulations are designed so that if every rule is followed by every company, your chances of getting hurt or killed are very low. Every company is expected to incorporate their own safety rules on top of these that are industry or location-specific. Trucking companies are encouraged to exceed these trucking safety rules.
These truck safety regulations are extensive, and they address a number of important issues, including:
- Truck driver qualifications
- Training, background checks, and hiring
- Supervision of drivers
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Accident reporting
- Restrictions on the use of cellphones and mobile devices
- Mandated rest periods and hours of service
- Maintenance and safety for operation
- Penalties for violations by drivers and trucking companies
Recent changes to the federal trucking regulations have included additional restrictions on the use of smartphones and cellphones behind the wheel. Drivers cannot hold or reach for a mobile device while driving, although the use of hands-free devices is still allowed.
While safety rules are designed to keep us safe, truckers and trucking companies don't necessarily follow them. Our investigations into 18-wheeler wrecks have shown that when truckers break safety rules, it's because the trucking company turns a blind eye or even encourages the truckers to break the rules. This is not uncommon. Trucking companies are only worried about their bottom line. Your safety should be their main concern, but too often it's not.
How can you find out if trucking companies make sure their drivers are driving safely?
In addition to truckers following safety regulations, trucking companies are supposed to follow federal hiring guidelines to make sure they're hiring safe drivers. Some of these guidelines include:
- Checking the driving records of their drivers before hiring them and at least once per year.
- Re-training drivers if they have repeat violations on their driving records.
- Removing drivers from the roadway if they have too many violations.
- Conducting random drug testing before hiring them and after a wreck.
- Checking the medical history of drivers to make sure they won't be a danger to themselves or others on the road.
These are just some of the major trucking regulations that must be followed to ensure safety on our roadways. Trucking regulations are a system of check and balances to make sure both the companies and the drivers are responsible and safe. They are supposed to keep everyone accountable for violating the rules. But many companies don't think it's in their best interest to enforce the rules. In the short-term, unsafe, fly-by-night companies think they can make more money by not enforcing the safety rules.
Reckless or careless truckers are hazards on our roadways, and trucking companies must take responsibility for putting dangerous drivers behind the wheel of their trucks. These safety rules are designed to prevent these drivers from getting behind the wheels of large commercial vehicles, but they can’t protect people if they are not enforced.
Although truck drivers can be given a criminal citation if they cause a fatal wreck, the criminal system is focused on holding the driver accountable. The victim is overlooked. That's where filing an injury or wrongful death case against the trucking company becomes important. The civil justice system is designed to hold dangerous people and companies accountable for their actions.
How to hold truckers and companies accountable for their dangerous behavior
Hiring the right firm for your claim can make all the difference in the world. Very few firms know how to prevent you from getting tricked into a lowball settlement. Even fewer firms have the expertise and the experience to properly investigate your case and find out exactly who broke what regulation along with the when, where, why, and how they were broken.
We know how to examine the other driver’s cellphone records and confirm that they were indeed using their phone at the time of the accident instead of paying attention to the road. We understand what evidence from the crash investigation helps to prove your claim, and we know how to identify the responsible parties in a tragic crash. We know all their tricks and traps and how to protect you from them. We know what to look for in our investigations and how to prove whether or not the trucking companies also violated the safety rules. We know how to hold both the driver and the company accountable.
The bottom line is that the right firm can make or break your case. When you hire our firm, we will ensure the company and driver are held accountable for their dangerous behavior. We work to get you the help you need to move forward from this traumatic event and to get you the compensation you deserve.
When you have questions, we have answers. We will give you all the information you need to navigate the lawsuit process. We will provide you with a free and confidential case analysis. Call us now at 877-724-7800 or fill out a form on our website to get started now.