When they hire someone, trucking companies must check that the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license and they must also do a background check looking for traffic-related offenses.
Houston, TX – Texas has one of the highest numbers of truck accidents in the country, mainly because the local economy relies heavily on the trucking industry. To make matters worse, many of the trucks you pass on the roads are carrying hazardous, highly-flammable materials. You’d think trucking companies will do whatever it takes to keep their employees and the other road users safe. They don’t.
Egregious safety violations
Take, for instance, the case of the Houston-based 4 Life Transport company which was shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last February for safety violations.
And don’t think those were minor problems. According to the FMCSA, the company was found to be “egregiously non-compliant” with multiple federal safety regulations.
Here are a few of the worst problems discovered by the FMCSA:
- Truck drivers who tested positive for drugs and alcohol
- Failure to comply with commercial driver’s license (CDL) standards and qualifications
- Federal driver Hours of Service (HOS) violations,
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance
A murderous history of deceit
The many safety violations only came to light when one of its drivers was killed in a truck accident on February 7, 2021. The investigation revealed that the dead driver was known to the FMCSA from the time he was working for another Houston company, Adversity Transport. Just a few weeks before the fatal accident, the agency had ordered both the driver and his truck out of service, arguing they posed an imminent threat to public safety. The driver simply moved to 4 Life Transport, an unfortunate decision that led to his untimely death.
According to industry experts, it’s common practice for truckers to move to another employer or for companies in trouble with the FMCSA to morph into a new company and get new USDOT numbers to stay under the radar.
Who can you sue for a truck accident?
In this type of crash, you can have multiple liable parties and it’s best to talk to experienced Houston truck accident lawyers to see who you can sue.
There are many cases in which the trucker will bear full responsibility for the crash. If the accident was caused by speeding, distracted or aggressive driving, it’s the trucker who’ll be liable for damages.
However, seasoned Houston accident lawyers will also want to investigate the trucking company and the example above easily explains why.
No one forced the driver to consume drugs or alcohol, so they can be held accountable for their actions. Yet, if the company failed to test its employees as required under federal regulations, the employer is also partly at fault so you can sue them.
When they hire someone, trucking companies must check that the driver has a valid commercial driver’s license and they must also do a background check looking for traffic-related offenses. Failure to do so constitutes negligence and your lawyers can use that to sue both trucker and employer.
Inadequate vehicle maintenance
Trucking companies are required to maintain their vehicles in good condition, providing regular maintenance and inspecting them before each trip.
Your lawyers will examine the company’s maintenance records to see when the truck was last serviced and what repairs were done, if any.
If your lawyers discover what the FMCSA described as egregious non-compliance with safety regulations, you may be able to seek exemplary damages on top of your compensatory damages.
Source: FMCSA – Company Snapshot 4 Life Transport Corporation