A recent Yahoo!News report alleges that the driver involved in the catastrophic Amtrak crash that injured 55 had a criminal record. The 43-year-old driver, John Devin Black, has a driving record that includes more than a dozen traffic violations including excessive speeding and driving with a revoked license. Black’s criminal history also includes exceeding the permitted weight limit on his truckload as well as child abuse, assault, and writing bad checks. Passing a criminal background check is not a prerequisite to obtaining a commercial driver’s license, according to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.
Negligent Hiring and Truck Accidents
While many different factors may contribute to a truck accident, one cause may include negligent hiring. This occurs when the driver 1) had a history of traffic violations and accidents, 2) did not receive the proper training from the employer, or 3) did not have the appropriate qualifications to drive a commercial truck.
Most, if not all, commercial transportation companies have standards and protocols when hiring drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require a thorough background check of all drivers to be conducted by employers prior to allowing them to drive their commercial vehicles. Nevertheless, some employers willfully disregard these requirements or do not provide adequate training to their truck drivers prior to sending them out on the roads. Nothing in the rules prohibits a driver with a criminal history from obtaining a commercial license, unless the crime was committed while driving a truck.
Negligent hiring occurs when a company doesn’t conduct a thorough enough background check or knowingly hires an employee who:
- Lacks the certification or current license to drive a big truck;
- Was fired by another trucking company for violating safety rules or falsifying log books;
- Has a criminal history, including but not limited to a DUI;
- Could not pass a drug test; and/or
- Has a poor driving history (recorded traffic violations or accidents).
Inadequate training may also make an employer liable. Some examples include improper training of traffic laws in the states in which the truckers drive, rules of the road and tractor-trailer operations, compliance with federal regulations, or proper inspection of the vehicle for safety issues.
Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, or any other type of accident, contact an experienced truck accident attorney right away. Based in Charleston, the lawyers of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, LLC represent clients throughout the Tri-County Area, across South Carolina, and beyond state limits. The firm focuses on all types of trucking accidents, including semis and 18-wheelers, and will provide aggressive and sincere legal advocacy for victims.