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Negligent Truck Driver Hiring

How motor carriers that hire bad truck drivers cause many accidents

People commonly refer to collisions involving semi-trucks or tractor-trailers as truck “accidents.” But we believe there’s no such thing as an accident. That’s because most truck crashes are preventable. They’re largely caused by negligent trucking companies:

Truckers on drugs

Unfit drivers who are addicted to drugs or have health issues are a major cause of truck crash injuries and deaths. These drivers carelessly ignore important safety and licensing requirements. But it’s up to the truck companies who hire them to properly screen them for drugs.

For instance, in a seminal study, the National Transportation Safety Board performed blood screenings on 168 truck drivers who were killed in truck crashes, and detected illegal narcotic drugs or alcohol in 33 percent of their blood concentrations.

And in 2008, Michigan was listed among the top 12 most sanctioned states in the nation that allow truck drivers with serious medical problems — including heart disease and seizure disorders — to drive tractor-trailers. Michigan was also one of the top states that fail to require truck drivers to carry valid medical certificates, according to a review by the Associated Press of 7.3 million commercial driver violations compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2006.

Dangerous out-of-service trucks

One in four trucks on the roads today are considered “out-of-service.” This means that the truck has so many service violations, that it would have to be taken off the road and towed to the nearest mechanic after being pulled over by law enforcement. Many trucking companies fail to require their drivers to properly check for and address these violations, leading to truck crashes.

Common truck service violations include:

  • Defective brakes,
  • Bald tires and
  • Loads that dangerously exceed weight limitations.

Chameleon carriers

There are many trucking companies that cut safety corners to save money, hire unfit truck drivers, cause deadly crashes and then when they’ve racked up too many safety violations, they reopen under a new name. These trucking companies are called “chameleon carriers.”

According to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability office, more than 500 trucking and bus companies that were ordered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) to be shut down for safety violations are continuing to operate under different names. The GAO report also found another 1,073 commercial trucking firms that are believed possible “reincarnations” after incurring fines and violations.

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