When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, there are few more devastating than an accident involving a large truck. The sheer difference in size between a family passenger vehicle, like a car, SUV, or pickup truck and a massive truck carrying a heavy load and barreling down Texas highway means any collision between them will be devastating for those in the smaller vehicles.
In many cases, accidents happen because of something the driver did or failed to do, which can lead to a claim of negligence against the trucking company he or she works for. Sometimes, the driver is fatigued because they’ve been driving too long without a break and other times they may be distracted by something, like their smartphone, a GPS device or a music player, and all negligence in such cases leads back to the trucking company.
Quite often, the driver makes a mistake and causes an accident because they simply don’t know what to do and that often happens because the company they work for has decided to cut corners and engage in negligent hiring practices. Based on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), as well as other federal and state laws and regulations, trucking companies have a duty to make sure their drivers operate safely, but they also have a duty to make sure their drivers are qualified, as well. What that means is, they have to make sure the drivers they hire are properly qualified and they must also conduct thorough background checks into a driver’s history before they can be allowed to take the wheel on Texas or national highways.
Among the types of screening trucking companies should conduct include the following:
- Verifying that the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license and that it’s current
- A thorough review of the applicant driver’s complete driving record and accident history
- Running a criminal background check
- Making sure the applicant has no problems with abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
- Requiring the applicant to pass a drug test
- Requiring the applicant to go to a doctor for a complete physical and have that doctor certify that the prospective driver is medically fit to operate a commercial vehicle
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking companies have an absolute duty to reject any candidates that don’t meet certain specific criteria. For example, employers are required to not just verify that the candidate has a valid CDL, they are also required to obtain their employment and driving history going back at least three years. In addition to federal and Texas regulations, trucking companies also usually have their own policies, as well. Overall, failing to follow either federal or state regulations or their own internal policies can constitute negligent hiring practices, which can make them liable for any injuries caused by a truck driver’s negligence.
The Texas Trucking Injury Lawyers of Liggett Law Group Can Help
Anytime a trucking company fails to do certain things in hiring a driver, they can be held liable for their own negligence. If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is always a good idea to speak with a highly qualified Truck Accident Attorney as soon as possible. The highly experienced attorneys at Liggett Law Group will conduct a thorough investigation of all aspects of your accident, including the driver who may have caused it and the practices of the trucking company. If the company relaxed its hiring standards and, in the process placed unsafe truck drivers on the road, we can use that information to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.