Automobile accidents involving semi trucks are some of the most serious, devastating and damaging types of accidents on the road, largely due to the immense size and weight of the trucks involved. It is critically important that the drivers of such large vehicles take appropriate care to operate these behemoth-sized trucks safely. Truck transport employers have a duty to execute care when hiring truck drivers, and also have a duty to supervise the drivers that they put on the road. When an employer is negligent in its hiring practices or its supervision of its drivers, accidents can happen and innocent victims suffer the consequences.
Truck Drivers Taking Negligent Actions
Large transport truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to meet certain delivery deadlines. They are given a load to transport, and based on how far the driver has to go, they are given a certain timeframe in which to delivery the transport load. A certain amount of time is factored in for the driver to take breaks and a certain amount of time is also factored in for traffic, construction, etc.
However, inconveniences during transport, such as worse than expected traffic or truck breakdowns, might not be factored in to a driver’s delivery timeframe. If the driver falls behind on his or her delivery schedule, it might prompt the driver to operate the truck in a way that is not necessarily safe.
Some of the unsafe practices that the driver might engage in can include:
- Not taking his or her required breaks from driving
- Eating while driving
- Using stimulants to stay awake and drive when tired
- Speeding or operating the truck in an unsafe way or taking routes that are not approved
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their workers follow safe, responsible driving practices. A supervisor can be considered negligent if the supervisor knows that the driver is or has been operating the semi truck in way that is unsafe, and yet fails to take corrective action. Some examples of situations where the supervisor should act include:
- Knowing that the driver has a drug problem, i.e., use of amphetamines or other stimulants to complete deliveries
- Knowing that the driver falsely reports or makes false driver log entries about actual duration of time driven
- Permitting the driver to continue employment with a trucking company even though there is a history of problems with the driver
- Failing to verify that the driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) is valid and that the driver’s various endorsements to operate certain trucks and transport certain loads are legitimate.