Trucking Safety Regulations Are Only as Good as the Companies Enforcing Them
You are driving to work when you encounter that unexpected traffic jam on the freeway. You look ahead down the road and can see what appears to be a crash. You look closer and you see that a semi-tractor trailer is involved. As you drive closer to the crash site, you see the remains of the vehicle the semi hit and wonder if the driver of that car made it out alive. Unfortunately, crashes involving semi-tractor trailers are extremely common, with an average of 16 crashes occurring each day. The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration released a study in April 2016 finding that nearly 6,000 crashes in the United States involved a semi in 2015, with 4,100 of them involving fatalities.
These results are entirely unacceptable.
Interstate trucking is a heavily regulated industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2000 for the sole purpose of regulating the trucking industry and enforcing rules for truck drivers. These rules include how long a driver can drive, how long a driver must sleep before returning to the wheel, how often the semis have to be inspected, and much more.
The biggest issue with these rules is that they must be enforced by the trucking companies in order for them to work. Trucking companies make money by delivering their loads quickly. The more routes a driver drives and the faster he drives it, the more profitable that semi is for the company. This poses an inherent conflict, which incentives bare minimum compliance (and sometimes even noncompliance) to ensure profitability.
We litigate a lot of cases involving trucking accidents that result in very severe injuries. During discovery, we often learn the drivers were not sleeping enough, not keeping truthful logs about their time, and overworking themselves to meet the demands of the company. What’s more, we also have learned that many companies do not do any meaningful safety training for their employees and do not regularly inspect or even maintain their semis. Many of these companies resort to “reactive” measures after crashes happen rather than “proactive” measures to prevent them. These customs and practices of trucking companies regularly result in juries awarding punitive damages to punish trucking companies for their callous disregard for people’s safety.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash involving a semi, please contact us to discuss your rights. We offer a free consultation where we will be candid with you about your case and discuss the options available to you. We do not pressure you to act. We lay it out for you to make an informed decision. We have successfully litigated many cases against trucking companies, and trucking companies know who we are. We will bring justice to you.