The Texas Department of Transportation reports that the number of motor vehicle deaths in Texas in 2014 was 3,534. The Texas Department of Transportation also reports that when calculated, this number of deaths is 1.42 deaths per hundred million miles traveled by vehicle. While this number of fatalities is staggering, truck drivers are not the only party that can be held responsible for these deaths or other injuries that result from truck accidents. Trucking companies also have a duty to ensure the safety of motor vehicles in numerous ways. This article will explore various circumstances where employer negligence can contribute to catastrophic truck accidents.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Trucking companies do not always use proper procedure for screening and training potential truck drivers. Trucking companies must implement certain elements into basic screening for potential drivers including:
- Drug Test. Truck companies must make sure that a potential truck driver passes a drug test. The trucking company also must make sure the truck driver does not have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
- Physical Examination. Drivers must be physically fit to operate the vehicle.
- Trucking companies must complete background criminal history examinations in addition to reviewing the applicant’s past driving record including researching if the driver has been involved in prior accidents.
- Truck companies must make sure that the truck driver has the requisite commercial driver’s license to operate the vehicle.
Inadequately Trained Drivers
Drivers who are not properly trained in how to handle vehicles can end up in car crashes. Trucking companies, however, do not always follow the requirements to train truck drivers . Instead, trucking companies sometimes try to violate these rules to get drivers on the road more quickly so the company can receive profits faster.
All too frequently, trucking companies allow drivers to work long hours so cargo can be delivered more quickly and the company can make money faster.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Truck Companies may be found negligent for poor truck maintenance, which can directly result in potentially catastrophic consequences. There are a variety of ways that a trucking company can fail to maintain trucks including:
- De-Power Brakes. Some trucking companies de-power the front brakes of commercial vehicles to prevent brake wear, which can have catastrophic results.
- Frequent Inspections. Trucking companies might fail to perform periodic inspections of the company’s vehicles.
- Trucking companies can fail to make sure commercial vehicles have been properly maintained in accordance with regulations.
- Trucking companies may push parts of commercial vehicle like brake pads or tires past the recommended life.
How Are Employer Negligence Cases Pursued?
Employers can be held responsible through several legal theories, including most noticeably, vicarious liability. Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer is held liable for the actions of its employee. Establishing vicarious liability can be difficult because evidence must demonstrate that the accident occurred within the scope of the driver’s employment.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an accident due to criminal behavior of a driver, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.