Negligent Hiring as a Cause of Trucking Accidents
It is the duty of every trucking company to make sure it hires drivers which are fully qualified to drive. Should the company fail to meet those obligations and an accident involving the hired driver occurs, the trucking company may find themselves liable for their conduct, and could be charged with negligence for improper hiring. Trucking companies are required by law to conduct extensive background checks into their potential driver’s history, and most companies also have additional hiring policies which could render them negligent should those policies not be followed to the letter.
Trucking companies are also required to ensure their drivers are adequately trained before they start driving, and to make sure they remain in compliance with all necessary qualifications during their time of employment. More specifically, trucking companies must meet all of the following or risk being charged with negligence should an unfortunate accident occur:
Basic Driver Qualifications
The basic driver qualifications, although they vary from state to state, include that the driver will meet the age requirement, be able to speak, understand and converse in English, have a Commercial Driver’s License which is both valid and current, and be able—physically—to handle the job requirements. Many individual trucking companies have specific requirements as far as passing a medical exam. Some companies have the right to terminate an employee who has a blood pressure reading over a certain limit, others require the employee to pass a basic physical fitness test. In general, a driver who crosses state lines must be at least 21 years old, while a driver who remains within state borders can be 18. The driver must be well-versed in the English language in order to fully comprehend all traffic signs as well as to fill out reports in cohesive English.
Truck Driver Training
In order for a person to obtain a truck driver’s license in the United States they must first have a basic knowledge of highways and routes, and must be capable of maintaining mileage records, making deliveries and filling out the paperwork required for each loading. Trucking is a career which requires not only significant levels of concentration, but also potentially long periods of living in a very solitary manner. Good physical fitness, stamina, and a self-reliant nature are all hallmarks of a good truck driver.
A driving test is required to acquire a semi-driver’s license, and the driver will be required to maneuver within a limited space, to drive at least 25 continuous miles and to correctly answer all written questions on the theory test. The driver must possess a clean driving record to be eligible for the license, and must have additional training should they desire to transport hazardous chemicals.
When Companies Ignore Requirements
Unfortunately, it is more and more common for trucking companies to keep their books balanced by ignoring the rules and requirements. Unqualified drivers, undocumented drivers who cannot read English road signs, drivers who are driving on suspended driver’s licenses, and even those convicted of a DUI are often hired “under the table” so to speak, making our highways and roadways increasingly dangerous. Additionally, companies are neglecting to maintain the trucks and equipment, making them an accident waiting to happen.
If you have been involved in an accident with a big rig that was caused by someone else's negligence, including those situations where you believe it was due to some aspect of negligent hiring, you should contact a personal injury attorney who is well-versed in trucking accidents. Your attorney can help you fight back against trucking industry negligence, including any illegal hiring practices.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Georgia, it is crucial to know the full scope of your legal options. The Atlanta trucking accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, tenaciously represent trucking accident victims located throughout the state of Georgia and all over the Southeast. We investigate cases to the fullest extent and develop the best strategies possible to maximize your chances of recovering.
Our firm covers all smaller cities in Georgia and the rural parts of the state as well. Regardless of where you are located, our lawyers are just a phone call away, and we will even visit you if you cannot come to us. To schedule a free confidential case evaluation, you can call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.