Kankakee Trucking Company Employer Negligence Lawyer
Long-haul truckers are responsible for traveling extreme distances, tasked with delivering their goods in as little time as possible. In most cases, truckers and the companies that are responsible for putting them on the road are fulfilling their obligations in terms of safety, but not always.
When the appropriate working conditions are not present for workers, mistakes and injuries can occur. Unfortunately, when this conversation involves trucks on the interstate, the mistakes and injuries can be tragic. In the event that you are involved in an accident, get in touch with the Kankakee truck employer negligence lawyers at Spiros Law, P.C. Dial (815) 929-9292 today.
Employer Negligence and Liability
While most trucking companies understand their responsibility to keep their employees and others on the road safe from harm, some employers choose to cut corners to save dollars. It doesn’t pay off, however, if there is an accident. The following are ways that an employer can fail to make sure that their drivers are prepared for the road.
Hours of Service Violations
Often pushing themselves up to and beyond the limits of fatigue, there is evidence to suggest that long-haul truckers sometimes endanger themselves and others by driving too long without sleeping. Studies show that truck driver drowsiness and exhaustion play a significant role in numerous accidents that involve semi-trucks and tractor trailers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has certain regulations in place regarding rest for truckers, but these are nearly impossible to enforce consistently.
Sources of Driver Fatigue
There are three primary reasons identified by the FMCSA that truck drivers’ schedules make them susceptible to dangerous fatigue:
- Circadian Rhythm: the cycle of drowsiness and alertness in the course of the 24 hour cycle.
- Sleep Deprivation: when a person fails to get 7-8 hours of sleep in a day, or if a person is awake for in excess of 16-17 hours.
- Industrial Fatigue: also known as “time-on-task” fatigue, it is the decline experienced when a person is engaged in a task for a long period of time.
Many truckers essentially live in their trucks, and this lifestyle, while convenient, may strain an already irregular sleeping schedule. Regulations require there to be a minimum amount of daily rest, and a “weekend.” But companies may typically only schedule a driver to have one day off for each week of work. These circumstances make it nearly inevitable that certain forms of fatigue will affect drivers’ performance at one time or another.
Trucking companies have a legal responsibility to ensure that the drivers they hire and put on the road are adequately trained and fit to drive their vehicles. When trucking companies fail to adhere to this important duty, they create a potential hazard for every motorist that shares the road with their employees. Inexperienced or dangerous truck drivers can cause devastating and sometimes deadly auto accidents.
Insufficient Screening Practices
The primary way in which a trucking company can be negligent in its hiring practices is a failure to properly screen applicants for what should be disqualifying factors, such as the following:
- A history of moving violations and safety violations
- Drug test failures
- A lack of a proper commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Expired CDLs
- A history of dangerous accidents
- A DUI record
Any of these warning signs should be a red flag that prevents the hiring of that driver, and ignoring these factors in order to put more drivers on the road is a clear form of negligence.
Failure to Train / Inadequate Training
Trucking accidents are often devastating, especially for the occupants of any smaller vehicles involved in the collisions. To protect their drivers as well as others on the road, trucking companies have an obligation to provide their employees with the training necessary to the competent and safe operation of commercial trucks. When they fail to do so, these negligent employers can be held liable for any damages that result.
Hazards of Insufficient Training
Handling and operating a semi truck or 18-wheeler is no simple matter, and untrained drivers put themselves and everyone sharing the road with them at risk of catastrophic accidents. A lack of training can lead to errors such as the following:
- Improperly secured trailers
- Errors in gauging braking distances
- A lack of understanding of the vehicle’s blind spots
- Poorly loaded cargo
- Unsafe driving in inclement weather
Any of these mishaps can lead to a serious accident and major injuries to innocent drivers on the road.
Failure to Inspect Vehicles
Requirements for vehicle inspections are common to anyone who owns a car, and they are required to have their vehicles inspected annually in order to ensure that they are in roadworthy condition. Commercial semi-trucks are on the road far more often than conventional vehicles, and are subjected to incredible stresses while in operation due to their size, weight, and distance traveled, necessitating the need for inspections and repairs more frequently than is necessary for other vehicles.
Requirements for Inspection
There are many critical systems on a semi-truck that are subjected to far more use and stress than the components of a typical passenger car or truck, and the deterioration of these functions is inevitable. For this reason, the following systems are regularly inspected for safety:
- Headlights and warning lights
- Parts designed to wear such as brakes and tires
- Turning indicators
- Cargo hitch attachments
- Engine systems
When a trucking company fails to regularly inspect these systems, maintenance problems can quickly become critical issues that lead to a dangerous accident.
When a truck company doesn’t put an emphasis on safety and accountability, they are failing to give even the basic level of support and training, and they need to be held accountable for this recklessness.
Accidents with commercial trucks are often tragic. These vehicles cannot afford to make mistakes on the road, and the best way to minimize this risk is by having proper training and regulations. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a large truck, you need to take legal action. Call (815) 929-9292 to speak to the Kankakee truck employer negligence lawyers at Spiros Law, P.C.