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E-mail from truck driver and my response

January 5, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan truck accident lawyer responds to “Trucker for life” on why onus is on truckers to avoid truck crashes

First, since this isn’t my first email from an angry truck driver, let me repeat what I’ve written earlier:

As a truck accident lawyer, I’m not anti-trucker. Currently, about 10 percent of my practice is truck drivers who were seriously injured in truck accidents. I also speak and teach at a number of industry safety seminars to help truckers and trucking companies.

I can’t tell you how many e-mails I have received from truckers who are furious at their company (usually the safety director) for forcing them or putting pressure on them to break mandatory safety rules. In many of these cases where the truckers are being pressured, it’s coming from the company safety director himself, which would be wonderfully ironic if it weren’t so damn tragic and dangerous.

I have never said truckers cause all truck accidents. I am aware that many truck accidents are caused by bad decisions that motorists make around trucks, which is actually why I have so many truck drivers as clients today. Take a look at an entire section of my website designed to help injured truck drivers who are hurt in accidents on the job in Michigan.

I consider myself pretty fair about this, and frankly, I really like most truckers and I really appreciate the ones – the majority – who do play by the rules and take their job seriously and drive with professionalism. I think they appreciate working with me as well, and it helps me serve them better that I know more about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and CDL requirements than any other lawyer in Michigan.

Going after the bad trucking companies in Michigan

Now, that being said, I enjoy going after the bad trucking companies with a zeal that is hard to describe, but think of it like a kid at Cedar Point. I like going after bad truckers who derisively refer to their log books as “lie books” and put ordinary people in danger. I really like it when I have a crooked safety director and owner and I can really make his life miserable for safety violations that endanger the public. If you fall into this category, you will not like me if I ever depose you. I promise.

I truly believe I save lives and I make our roads safer. Not a bad way to practice law.

What “Trucker for life” has to say

There really should be no debate between truckers and our truck accident lawyers. But in response to some of my recent blogs about truck crashes, I’ve received several comments from truckers blaming the people driving cars. My latest is from “Trucker for life,” who was responding to: 200,000 truck drivers suspected of using drugs and alcohol.

“I agree, and also drug test everybody who drives a car, especially the elderly and young adults… Oh and don’t forget the ones who pull out in front of an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer instead of waiting for it to pass, or those people who would come all the way from the left lane to the right lane in front of a truck to exit the interstate, when it’s only two seconds away.”

I agree with “Trucker for life” in that many people make very foolish decisions around big trucks, and these people cause many serious truck accident cases are not the truck drivers’ fault. Again, bad decision-making by car drivers that result in serious accidents is unfortunately one of the reasons why I end up having so many truck drivers as clients. Read here on how to drive safely around trucks.

On the other hand, many truck accidents are caused when negligent truck companies push their drivers to drive beyond the legal limit, and when the truckers, in turn, become fatigued or when their driving judgment becomes impaired.

Professional truck drivers are required by federal and state law to drive in a safe and alert state. In this, “Trucker for life” is just plain wrong. There is a huge difference between truckers, as professional drivers, and ordinary drivers. Truckers are driving 80,000 pound machines that are, by the very nature of their size and weight and mass, inherently dangerous. And the potential for causing incredible carnage, including personal injury and death, by a big truck is far greater than for a person driving any ordinary passenger car.

That potential for devastation is obviously why truck drivers are required to be professional drivers, why they are required to have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and that’s why the FMCSA has so many important safety rules and regulations that don’t apply to people operating cars. To compare them and judge them the same is not only wrong, it ignores all the training and regulations that you – “Trucker for life” have been trained, licensed, and that you have sworn an oath to follow.

Steven Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law and one of the most renowned truck accident lawyers in the country. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation Group. and . Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his efforts in promoting national truck safety.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Don Hankins

Related information:

Why truck accidents are different than car accidents

Truck driver safety

Qualifications of a Michigan truck accident lawyer

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation from one of our truck accident lawyers.

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