Our firm has vast experience with and knowledge gained from handling complex trucking cases. “Truckers — The Bullies of the Road,” “Technical Trucking,” “New Commercial Motor Vehicle Technology” and “Driving While Fatigued” are the titles of speeches that Todd has given to thousands of lawyers all over Texas to help them effectively prosecute trucking and other commercial vehicle cases.
When a trucking case is entrusted to Clement + Speer, they put that knowledge to work to discover why you or your loved ones were needlessly injured — reasons such as:
Hiring Dangerous Drivers
Trucking companies negligently hire drivers with two or more past DWI’s, an excessive history of tickets and many prior at-fault collisions. Before hiring a driver, trucking companies are required by law to obtain the trucker’s driving record and contact their past employers. All too often, trucking companies break the law and put dangerous drivers behind the wheel.
Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving
Despite the fact that it is prohibited by federal law, many truckers drive while talking on their cell phones, texting and emailing. Studies have shown that talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 and that texting and emailing is much worse, almost like driving while partially blind. No wonder truckers who talk and text while driving cause terrible tragedies. Responsible trucking companies must have an enforced ban on this dangerous activity. In a recent case, a commercial vehicle driver rear-ended and killed a young mother and her grandmother at 71 mph admitting later that he was texting prior to the collision. His employer had not banned cell phone use and texting.
Not Firing Bad Drivers
While industry standards require firing drivers with over three tickets in three years and require the companies to obtain driving records and conduct a comprehensive review of their safety record every year, trucking companies often neglect to do so — keeping bad drivers on the road!
Trucking companies are required to train drivers to safely drive their trucks; yet training is often neglected because training is expensive and does not make them money. In one recent case, the trucking company failed to provide any training whatsoever before putting a 19 year old driver with a questionable foreign driver’s license behind the wheel. Within weeks, he made an improper turn that broke an elderly client’s neck. In another case, the trucking company failed to re-train a driver after his improper turn caused a collision, so he did the same exact maneuver six months later causing a severe collision injuring a young college student.
Fatigue and Hours Violations
The Federal Government has passed laws (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) that prevent truckers from driving too many hours. Since time is money to truckers and their bosses, these laws are often violated causing terrible collisions and injuries. Even if the trucker is complying with the law, excessive hours can still result in fatigue. In a recent case, an in-town trucker’s routine legal practice of working 12+ hours per day resulted in fatigue that contributed to a dockworker being crushed. Fatigue has also played a major factor in cases where truckers fell asleep at the wheel and crossed over to the opposite lane with devastating consequences.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Federal law prohibits the operation of a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Both pre-employment and random testing is required and often neglected. In a recent case, co-employees and supervisors reported a trucker’s drinking on-the-job to the trucking company, but nothing was done because of its need for drivers. The trucker subsequently caused a catastrophic collision when he ran a red light with a blood alcohol content of .30.
Because of their truck’s vast potential for harm, truckers must drive defensively, yet there is good reasons why truckers are often called “the bullies of the road.” By law, truckers must keep a proper lookout, watch their blindspots, drive at a safe speed, reduce their speed when conditions like rain, fog and ice require it and anticipate upcoming dangerous roadway conditions. Yet, those laws are broken daily by unsafe truckers.
Federal law requires trucking companies to properly maintain their vehicles and requires truckers to conduct daily vehicle inspections before starting their work day. However, many trucking companies and truckers neglect inspections and put off needed repairs and maintenance to squeeze a few more miles out of defective equipment to save money — turning the truck into a ticking time bomb.
Our firm has the knowledge and resources to recognize these and many other causes of trucking accidents and to hold those responsible for these causes accountable for the harm they have done. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.