Undoubtedly commercial truck drivers have one of the most difficult jobs. Drivers spend hours behind the wheel of large vehicles carrying tons of cargo often on dangerous roadways and in high traffic areas. However, these professionals and their employers are expected to be diligent and safe.
Trucking Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), thousands of people are injured and killed every day in accidents involving commercial carrier trucks. The summer months lead to increased traffic and increased accidents.
In 2014 the FMCSA issued a report on accidents involving large trucks and buses. Some of the major findings were:
- In 2014, there were 3,978 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes.
- From 2013 to 2014, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decreased by 5 percent, from 3,921 to 3,744.
- The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 21 percent, from 73,000 to 88,000, between 2013 and 2014.
- The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 31 percent, from 265,000 to 346,000, between 2013 and 2014.
These statistics should reinforce to drivers the need to stay alert when driving near commercial trucks.
The Importance of Background Checks and Employer Responsibility
Unfortunately, stories of drivers being high on drugs or intoxicated when causing an accident are all too common. Of course, drivers must take personal responsibility for their actions, but the companies that employ them must also act in a responsible manner.
Before hiring a driver who becomes responsible for a truck that can cause significant harm if not properly handled, an employer should know the history and specific risks associated with that driver. Companies are responsible for providing training and ensuring that licenses are up-to-date. Even more importantly, they are responsible for doing a thorough background check on the potential employee (and continuing background checks throughout employment).
A robust background check can tell business owners a great deal about the people they are considering for hire. The background check can uncover issues related to drug or alcohol dependency. Of course, these are serious concerns, especially for drivers of multi-ton commercial carrier trucks who must be able to remain alert and coherent at all times while driving.
The background check may also show that a driver has a history of reckless driving or that the driver has been terminated by a series of previous employers. Understanding these facts can give an employing trucking company a better understanding of the risks associated with each unique driver.
If a background check is not conducted, or if one is conducted but ignored, the hiring trucking company can and should be held at least partially responsible for any injuries caused by that reckless driver.
Trucking companies should not be able to profit off of reckless hires, and if you have been injured by a trucker, seek immediate medical attention — then contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
How Can an Attorney Help if I Have Been Injured by a Truck Driver?
If you have been in an accident involving any commercial vehicle, contact a Duluth truck accident lawyer at our firm immediately. The attorneys at McGahren, Gaskill & York can help you get the medical help you need, manage the other parties attorneys and help to ensure that you get complete compensation for your injuries.
DISCLAIMER: The information herein is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For any legal matters, we urge you to take the advice of an attorney familiar with your case.