A trucking company must have drivers who can transport the goods from the factory or warehouse to the destination point, so there is pressure to hire as many bodies as there are tractor-trailers available. However, a desire to keep the trucks on the road may lead to short cuts in the hiring and retention process. Although these decisions may never lead to any harm, when the driver negligently causes an accident, it is important to look at the actions of the trucking company to see if there is something that they could have done to prevent the accident.
Truck drivers operate large tractor-trailers that do not stop, steer, or maneuver like a passenger vehicle. The commercial drivers must have the necessary skills to operate the relevant class of trucks in an effective and safe manner. In order to ensure that this happens, the trucking company should have done the following:
- Perform its due diligence during the hiring process – It is important to gather all of the information necessary to evaluate the qualifications of the driver. Just because the driver says that he completed a specific training program does not mean that this is the truth. It is necessary to have the proper certificates, licenses, and other documentation to confirm the driver’s assertions.
- Pay careful attention to the details – Many times, it is the omissions that have the most relevance for the driver’s ability to perform the job of driving a tractor-trailer. If there is a gap in the employment history, this could be due to the fact that the driver was in jail on charges of aggressive driving. It is important to follow-up on these inconsistencies.
- Make sure the background check is done correctly – A trucking company is required to check the backgrounds of its drivers, but this can be done thoroughly or with a cursory computer search. If the background check is outsourced, and most are, the company performing the analysis must have a good reputation and the trucking company should review the information provided in order to confirm its accuracy.
- Call those references – Just because a person is listed does not mean that he would endorse the hiring of the driver.
- Establish and follow a comprehensive drug and alcohol screening program – Both routine screening and random testing is necessary to be certain that a driver is not abusing a substance and operating a truck under the influence.
- Require that drivers maintain their skills – As trucks and the technology associated with them continue to change, the training necessary to operate these vehicles safely must be current. It is critical that each driver has the knowledge necessary to operate the class of truck that he operates. Doing periodic reviews of the drivers’ certifications and the types of trucks that they routinely drive may alert a trucking company to a potential problem.
The need to find and hire truck drivers may prompt a trucking company to put any warm body with the right license up into the cab, but when that decision leads to a serious accident caused by the driver’s negligence, the trucking company may be responsible for the harm caused.
Murphy and Powell, PLC Attorneys Work Hard on Behalf of their Clients
The collision between an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer and a 4,000 pound sedan often results in severe consequences for the driver and passengers in the car because of the tremendous impact force of this type of accident. The compassionate and skilled Kentucky Trucking Accident Attorneys at Murphy & Associates, PLC know what a difficult recovery process that you face and we want to fight for you while you focus on getting the treatment that you need. We will work with you to develop the right legal plan for your individual needs. To discuss your case in a confidential consultation, call us at (502) 443-1360.