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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Huge Trucking Accident Verdict Highlights Trucking Company Failures

We all know that people travel more over the holidays, many using our interstates to travel to see their family and loved ones. This holiday season, in addition to ensuring you drive safely, truck drivers and trucking companies need to do their part to ensure their drivers are well qualified and operating their tractor-trailers safely and within the law. All too often, this is tragically not the case.

As a Missouri trucking accident attorney, I was interested to learn about the trucking accident case described here:.

 A Missouri family was recently awarded a $7 million dollar verdict over a fatal tractor-trailer crash. This verdict was rendered against the trucking company for its driver’s negligent failure to drive in his lane, and the company’s failure to properly investigate and train its employee.  The article states that the tractor-trailer driver was “overtired, wasn't qualified, wasn't trained and had two previous license revocations that should've prevented him from getting the job.” The fatal truck crash occurred less than three weeks after the trucking company hired the driver. "[The trucking company] broke every rule in the book with respect to safety and safe driving," the article quotes.

Just what are these rules that the trucking company broke? At trial, a trucking industry expert testified to the multiple failures on the part of the trucking company that the accident exposed:
• The driver never should have been permitted to drive because he had received two license revocations for substance abuse, which disqualified him from driving a commercial vehicle.
• At the time of the crash, the driver lacked adequate knowledge and experience to drive a tractor trailer.
• The trucking company failed to have a training system in place to educate and train truck drivers who lacked experience before putting them on the road.
• The trucking company violated federal trucking regulation FMCSR § 395, by assigning the driver a trip that he could not complete within the maximum allowable hours of service.
• The driver was in violation of the maximum hours of service regulations at the time of the fatal crash.
• The driver falsified his log book to cover up his hours of service violation.
• The trucking company failed to monitor the driver and other truck drivers to ensure compliance with hours of service regulations.
• The driver violated a fundamental rule, FMCSR § 383.113, by permitting his trailer to cross the center line when negotiating a curve in the roadway, which caused the fatal collision.

This list points to inexcusable, systemic failures on the part of the trucking company that led to the fatal crash and justified the jury's outrage, as reflected by its verdict.

This case points to an important question: Just how often are trucking companies in violation of the law? On my trucking accident website I explain this in detail, “Missouri is a prime example of how these trucking companies recklessly disregard the law. In 2005, the Missouri Highway Patrol issued 4,183 tickets to truckers who violated the hours-of-service regulations or driver logbook regulations, and this number does not include the big-rig drivers who were simply let off with warnings instead of citations. Imagine: the Missouri Highway Patrol catches more than 11 semi drivers breaking the law every day!” This practice is damaging, dangerous, and potentially fatal.

It is clear that trucking companies must be held accountable for unsafe trucking practices such as failure to investigate driver’s background, failure to train drivers, and practices contributing to violations of the maximum hours of service regulation. For more information on Missouri trucking accidents, please visit my website: www.glassmanlegal.com.  The Glassman Law Firm is dedicated to assisting victims of trucking accidents and committed to making the trucking industry accept responsibility when they violate federal safety regulations.

Video Caption: The Glassman Law Firm investigates not only a truck driver's driving record, but his medical history, in order to assess his fitness to operate a 40 ton, 16-wheeler on the highways of our state.

Be safe and take good care. ~ Stephen Glassman, St. Louis trucking accident attorney

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