Trucking Companies May Be Responsible For Difficult Liability Accidents
Accidents caused by a lack of driver training occur all the time. There are obvious accidents, such as a driver that fails to drive within their allotted time and crashes into another motorist due to fatigue. There are also less obvious accidents, such as a trucker stopping on the side of the road without the required warning devices. An investigation into the accident is required to determine if an accident is caused by neglect by the driver or lack of training by the trucking company.
One common type of accident our firm handles caused by a lack of driver training is parked truck accidents. When a truck stops next to a lane of moving traffic, the driver is required to place warning devices at set intervals within a specified period of time. This is often not done either because the driver does not know the rules or the company has not trained the driver to follow the rule every time, regardless of the reason for the stop.
Unfortunately, drivers that do not follow this simple rule cause accidents on a routine basis, and these accidents routinely result in serious injury and death. When presented with one of these cases, the trucking company tries to blame the injured driver for running into their truck. However, a trucking company cannot allow its drivers to break the rules and then try to escape liability.
At the Ammons Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys fight for the rights of our clients and make sure the wrongdoing of the trucking company and trucker are punished. We do not let trucking companies break the rules and get away with it.
What Should Commercial Operators Be Trained On?
The FMCSA requires trucking companies to train their drivers on the rules that will protect the motoring public when followed. Examples of these rules include:
- Backing Safely. Drivers should avoid having to back up as it is always dangerous. Backing safely is one of the most important skills a driver must receive training on.
- Turning. Many truck accidents are the result of improper turns. To avoid collisions, truck drivers must always use turn signals, turning them on early and canceling the signal only after the turn is complete.
- Controlling the Vehicle. Catastrophic and fatal crashes take place when a speeding truck driver loses control of his truck. Drivers must be trained to adjust their speed to fit the situation and to exercise extreme caution on wet or slick roads, when visibility is poor when driving over steep hills, around sharp curves, and when traffic is congested.
- Proper Securing of Loads. An unsecured load is an accident waiting to happen. Regardless of who loaded the cargo, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the trailer:
- Is not overloaded or poorly balanced;
- Safely and securely tied down with synthetic web, tie-downs, or chains;
- Heavy machinery is secure and within working load limits and weight; and
- Free of any loose load items, especially gravel, sand, and stone.
- Air Brakes. Drivers must understand compressed air systems, which are used to operate many truck braking systems, to ensure they are operating properly and be able to identify potential issues, such as water and oil accumulating in the compressed air storage tanks, which can affect the brake system’s performance and cause them to fail and cause a crash.
- Combination Vehicles. Most of the big rigs that you see on the road are a combination of a tractor-trailer, a tractor with two trailers (commonly known as a double), or a tractor with three trailers (triple). Drivers who operate doubles and triples require special training as these rigs require more skill. Doubles and triples are longer and heavier, so the risks of rollover and trailer jackknife are greater.
- Distracted Driving. Truck drivers must always focus 100% on driving to prevent serious injuries. Drivers who are distracted cause accidents. Fleet owners must train their drivers on the perils of distracted driving, including rules governing phone use.
- Hazardous Materials. Drivers of big rigs that transport hazardous materials require an endorsement on their CDL. This is identified with an endorsement code of “X.” If the truck is placarded, identifying that the load is hazardous, you must have a commercial driver’s license with the hazardous material endorsement code. It is against the law to drive this vehicle otherwise.
- Use of Extra Equipment. Some big trucks haul extra equipment like forklifts. Drivers should be trained on the safe use of all extra equipment.
- Inspecting the Truck. Drivers must pass an inspection test in order to obtain their CDL. Federal and state law requires drivers and trucking companies to inspect the truck. Uncovering a potential problem or safety issue during a daily pre-trip inspection is crucial to preventing important as it can prevent:
- A serious, even fatal, accident
- A costly and time-consuming breakdown
- Issuance of safety violation citations at any roadside inspection
- “Out-of-Service” situation if serious operational issues are uncovered
- Use of Alcohol and Drugs. Drivers must be made aware of the dangers of using any alcohol or drugs before or during the driving of a commercial truck.
- Keeping Logs. Drivers must complete a daily pre- and post-trip inspection of their truck and identify defects that could impact the safe operation of the vehicle. Identified defects must be repaired before operating the truck again
- Following Regulations. Truck companies need to make sure that their drivers know all necessary federal and state regulations regarding their business. Also, companies must teach their drivers all new trucking regulations passed – especially those involving safety.
Working With Trained 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers
After a truck accident, you need help. Even if the responding authorities say it was your fault, we can help you. We can investigate the truck accident and determine if the trucker broke special rules. We can determine if the trucking company failed to train the driver. We can use the legal process to gain access to company records and other training materials. If your accident was caused by negligence on part of the truck driver or the trucking company, we will bring a lawsuit and hold the wrongdoers responsible. We do not let trucking companies break the rules and escape liability.