Young & McCarthy LLP

Why the trucking industry might need better safety training

Truck fleet owners in Ohio and across the U.S. are re-thinking the way they train their drivers and enforce inspection rules in the wake of a 28-car crash caused by a long-haul trucker in Lakewood, Colorado. The catalyst for this fatal incident, which occurred back in April 2019, was a sudden failure of the brakes as the trucker was traveling downhill. Investigators found that the trucker had been cited for numerous brake-related violations in the past two years.

In fact, over the course of 19 inspections, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had reported 30 violations, including non-brake-related violations. The trucker responsible for the crash is facing 36 felony counts and may go to prison.

It appears that many trucking companies are not thoroughly training their drivers. With truckers in such high demand, companies feel pressured to dispatch their drivers as soon as possible. About 70% of the nation's freight is carried by truckers, and there is a nationwide need for at least 50,000 full-time truckers.

Improving training, then, is a priority. Some are pushing for a combination of classroom training, behind-the-wheel training with an experienced driver and virtual simulator training. The airline industry already mandates a similar combination of the three. Simulator training, in particular, is desirable because it eliminates the risk of injuries and property damage.

When truck accidents arise because of the trucker's negligence, those who are injured through little or no fault of their own may be entitled to compensation. This is where legal representation might play a role. A lawyer may help by hiring investigators and medical experts to build up the case and by handling all settlement negotiations. If negotiations fail, the lawyer may prepare for litigation. A successful injury claim might cover things like medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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