The bigger a vehicle is, the more restrictions the government typically imposes on its operation. Those who drive semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles generally need to have commercial driver’s licenses. There are special requirements for their training and also stricter rules regarding their behavior on the road.
Unfortunately, the companies that hire commercial drivers can sometimes engage in practices that increase crash risk instead of reducing it. How can commercial transportation companies better ensure that their vehicles will not cause a crash.
Deferring maintenance on fleet vehicles like replacing balding tires might seem like a smart move to balance the month’s budget for the company. However, delays in repairing vehicles or oversights when maintaining them in between runs could directly lead to a crash. According to an analysis of motor vehicle collisions caused by commercial vehicles, roughly 10% of the crashes caused by semi-trucks are the result of an issue with the truck. In other words, better maintenance practices by the owner of the fleet may have prevented the wreck.
Although the companies that provide transportation services and hire commercial drivers cannot control what their drivers do on the road, they can make choices that reduce the severity of the crashes that occur. Investing in the best underride guards possible could potentially save lives when crashes occur. The tragic reality is that many transportation companies put low-cost operations ahead of public safety and will install the cheapest rear underride guards they can legally use while avoiding side underride guards entirely.
Perhaps a trucking company decides to compromise on its standards for new hires because it has taken so long to recruit a new driver. Maybe concerns about employee misconduct have led to supervisors expecting drivers to take phone calls or respond to client emails while en route with a load. Sometimes commercial transportation companies make poor decisions about who they hire or how they train their workers. Other times, they may pressure their staff members to engage in unsafe practices ranging from using mobile devices to violating the hours of service rules.
In scenarios in which it is the company and not the driver that may ultimately be at fault for a semi-truck crash, the parties affected by the collision may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the business if there was misconduct or obvious negligence involved. Understanding how different parties contribute to semi-truck collisions can, therefore, help people more effectively pursue justice after a crash.