In almost every tractor-trailer wreck, the fault of the driver is clear. The driver may have been drowsy, failed to do a proper pre-trip inspection of the rig, driving too fast, left a load unsecured, been texting, or even impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, with most 18-wheeler wrecks, the fault of the driver is just the tip of the iceberg as to the root-cause of the problem.
Trucking companies (sometimes called carriers) are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising the drivers they put on the roads. This means that if the trucking carrier hires a dangerous driver, fails to train a driver, or keeps a driver who has shown to be unsafe, the carrier is responsible for harms it causes.
For example, some carriers hire drivers with safety, criminal, or health histories (like previous problems with driving while intoxicated or excessive speeding) when they should have known the driver was unqualified. When that driver hurts someone while speeding or intoxicated, the trucking company may be liable.
Trucking companies also have a duty to train and supervise the drivers it sends into our communities. If a trucking company fails to train a driver on keeping a safe distance or how to conduct a proper pre-trip inspection of the tractor and trailer- and that driver causes a crash because he was going too fast or his brakes were not working properly- the trucking company can be forced to answer for its role.
Trucking companies are also responsible for making sure the trucks in its fleet are maintained up to standards. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the safety standards for 18-wheelers. The safety rules include makings sure all the commercial trucks in a carrier’s fleet are safe – including good brakes, working signal lights, and safe tires.
The only way to determine if a trucking company has met the safety standards is to know where to look. Bailey & Oliver Law Firm aggressively pursues information on company policies, procedures, and practices and compares these safety standards (and the FMCSA standards) to the inspection of the company’s truck. It is important that the trucking company, not just the driver, be held accountable for its part in 18-wheeler wrecks. By holding trucking companies accountable, Bailey & Oliver helps to ensure the safety of the motorist on our roadways.
If you have been involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler, call Bailey & Oliver Law Firm today at 479-202-5200, or click the CHAT NOW at the top of this page.
Bailey & Oliver Law firm, 3606 W. Southern Hills Blvd., Ste. 200, Rogers, AR 72758
Located at Exit 81 off Pleasant Grove Road, just west of I-49.
(This blog was originally posted on July 7, 2016.)