Truck accidents can be devastating for passenger vehicle occupants. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 82% of truck accident fatalities are those outside the truck, including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Given the potentially life-changing consequences of truck accidents, the companies that operate and maintain trucks have legal obligations to ensure their fleet is safe for road travel. Upholding these responsibilities can greatly reduce the number of truck accidents that occur. Sadly, however, many trucking companies fail in this duty.
The Devastating Consequences of Truck Accidents
Many truck accidents are fatal for passenger vehicle occupants. This is because most cars are no match for a fully-loaded tractor-trailer traveling at fast speeds on the highway. Even when truck accident victims do not die in the crash, they often face permanent consequences. The catastrophic injuries that often result from truck accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Severe burn injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Injuries requiring amputation
Such devastating injuries often require long-term medical treatment. This can throw a truck accident victim and their family into financial turmoil. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that truck accident victims often cannot return to work for a long time after the crash, so they have no way to pay for these sudden medical bills.
It’s not right for truck accident victims and their families to foot the bill when the crash could have been prevented had trucking companies fulfilled their legal duties.
How Trucking Companies Can Prevent Truck Accidents
There are several measures that every trucking company should take to reduce the chances of accidents. Three such measures include the following:
#1. Hire Qualified Drivers
Any safe truck route begins with a qualified driver. Trucking companies should conduct full background checks on their driver applicants and disqualify any who have serious infractions on their record, like a DUI.
Once hired, trucking companies should also put new hires through a vigorous training process to ensure they know how to operate big rigs for long periods of time and over various types of terrain.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide training materials in a language every employee understands. Trucking companies must spend the money to print training materials in multiple languages or hire bilingual presenters.
#2. Inspect the Fleet Regularly
Trucks haul heavy loads over vast distances. They must be inspected and maintained regularly in order to prevent mechanical failures and subsequent accidents. The areas on a truck that are most vital to inspect regularly include the following:
- Electrical components
- Trailer connectors
Trucking companies should require their mechanics to leave notes in a log so the history of a certain truck’s problems can be known by the driver. This will also help management know if it’s safer for a vehicle to be taken off the road rather than continuously repaired.
#3. Keep Drivers Accountable
Truck drivers are notorious for violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations that limit the hours a trucker can drive without a break.
Trucking companies must implement a work culture of accountability that requires drivers to take a break not only when required, but also when needed. Additionally, the installation of electronic logbooks (as opposed to paper) may help reduce fraudulent entries from truckers.
Injured in a Truck Accident? We’re Here to Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in a preventable truck accident, our Mobile personal injury attorneys are here to help. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large trucking companies and their insurers, and we can help you recover the compensation you need to recover.
Call Cunningham Bounds at (251) 299-0101 to schedule a free consultation.