When a large commercial truck is the cause of a catastrophic crash, it’s easy for the injured individual to look solely at the truck driver. However, this is not always the case. There may be another party who is at fault: THE EMPLOYER.
The trucking company is responsible pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) to abide by a number of certain requirements when it comes to the trucking industry and the drivers operating commercial vehicles under the company’s federally issued authority. Understanding which ways they can be negligent and potentially at fault for a crash is important.
In the trucking industry, there are various regulations in place regarding how long a truck driver can operate a vehicle each day/weekly, and how those hours are recorded (please read my recent 100- air mile radius exception blog and ELD compliance. These regulations are in place to ensure drivers are aware of their surroundings and not tired when driving.
Unfortunately, in an industry with strict deadlines for delivery, some employers may try to encourage drivers to lie on their logs (or drive longer than permitted under the 100-air mike exception) and drive beyond the allowable hours, regardless of how tired they may be. This is a violation of industry regulations, especially when the driver is threatened with the loss of their job.
An employer is also responsible for ensuring their trucks are maintained properly and that any potential problems are fixed in a timely manner. Failure to maintain their trucks puts drivers and others on the road at risk of serious danger.
For instance, if the brakes are starting to wear down on the truck, but the employer fails to change them when necessary and failure causes a crash, the employer may be considered negligent and responsible for the injuries sustained.
An employer also has to follow a number of steps in order to qualify an individual before ever permitting he/she from getting behind the wheel. This requires specific record keeping. Many companies take short cuts and fail to properly qualify its drivers.
At Bordas & Bordas, we understand that liability for injuries sustained in a crash can be confusing. However, understanding negligence, and the manner in which crashes occur, is something we can help you with in the event you and/or a loved one sustains injuries because of a crash involving a large commercial truck.