It is an unfortunate fact: safe trucking practices come at the expense of profit. Because trucking companies stand to make more money by cutting corners and putting people at risk – and then trying to avoid liability and compensating the victims of their actions – you can count on them to take every safety shortcut they can get away with.
Unsafe trucking practices lead to accidents. When they do, victims deserve compensation for their injuries and trucking companies need to be brought to task. The truck accident lawyers at the Hadden Law Firm in Georgia work to make sure both of these things happen.
What are Some Unsafe Trucking Practices?
An unsafe trucking practice is anything that puts other drivers on the road at risk. While some unsafe trucking practices actually violate federal laws or regulations, others are not illegal. They are still unsafe, though.
Here are some common trucking practices that are unsafe.
Rushing Through Truck Inspections
A federal regulation, 49 CFR § 396.3, requires truckers and trucking companies to inspect their vehicles. Actually inspecting those vehicles, though, falls on the truck driver or their employer. Because these inspections take time and cannot be done with the truck is on the road – and carry the risk of finding something wrong – they cost the company money in the form of lost profits.
Therefore, there is a financial incentive to run through these inspections as quickly as possible and find nothing wrong with the vehicle. These meaningless inspections put people at risk.
Ignoring Required Rest Periods
Another federal regulation, 49 CFR § 395, dictates how long truckers can be on the road without a rest. These “hours of service” rules are meant to reduce truck accidents caused by driver fatigue. They cap the number of hours a trucker can drive in a row, without a break, as well as how many hours they can drive in a given week. The regulations require drivers to log their hours as proof that they are complying with the law.
Just like with inspections, though, it is up to the trucker to take the appropriate breaks, and the trucking company to enforce the rules with its fleet of drivers. Truckers under pressure to haul cargo long distances have a financial incentive to drive for longer than what the regulations allow and then lie about it in their logbook. When they drive for too long, they get tired and increase the odds of causing a crash.
Some trucking companies set standards of delivery that force their drivers to go over the speed limit. Even if there is no requirement that drivers speed, if a trucking company rewards a driver for making quick deliveries, it is financially incentivizing going over the speed limit.
Speeding truckers have become even more of a problem in recent years, as navigation apps tell drivers where police are. With less of a concern about police and getting pulled over and ticketed, truckers are more likely to speed and put people at risk.
Putting Off Truck Maintenance
Yet another unsafe trucking practice is to put off truck maintenance. As miles accumulate, the truck deteriorates. Fixing things that are wearing out but have not broken yet is an essential part of keeping the truck safe. However, taking the truck off the road for the time it takes to perform that maintenance would cost money and lose profits. Lots of truckers and trucking companies choose to forgo maintenance that should be done until it is too late and the problem has caused a crash.
Who is Responsible for Crashes Caused by Unsafe Trucking Practices?
When there is a truck accident that leaves an innocent driver hurt, and that crash was caused by an unsafe trucking practice, the details will matter when it comes to assigning blame and liability. However, in the vast majority of cases, it will be the trucking company who is held responsible, thanks to employer liability.
Even if it was the trucker who was driving unsafely, if the accident occurred in the scope of their employment, their trucking company can be held vicariously liable and made to compensate the victim.
Truck Accident Lawyers at the Hadden Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident in Georgia and it was caused by an unsafe trucking practice, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. The truck accident attorneys at the Hadden Law Firm can help you recover what you deserve. Contact them online to get started on your case today.