As Economy Improves, Hiring & Retention Problems Increase for Trucking Companies
By: John A. Houghton
As the economy continues to improve, demand for over-the-road drivers has increased among motor carriers. With this increased demand comes decreased safety standards for how these companies actually screen the drivers they hire. Serious truck wrecks are often the result of serious compliance issues by these companies.
In the interest of getting the load delivered the fastest way possible, the safety departments for these companies often overlook or intentionally ignore egregious driving records of these drivers. Often, drivers with multiple out-of-service violations and reckless driving convictions are dispatched without a second thought.
Motor carriers are required under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to properly screen drivers and obtain background information before hiring. 49 C.F.R. 391.21. Prior employers need to be contacted and these applicants must provide vital information about their history as CDL drivers.
A victim of a tractor-trailer wreck needs to retain an attorney who will properly investigate the company’s actions or inactions in hiring and retaining the at-fault driver. Evidence that the company failed to comply with the federal regulations in their hiring process or that the company simply ignored a habitually reckless driving history can support an award of punitive damages against the company. These are damages potentially recoverable in addition to the compensatory award at trial.
Truck wrecks should not be treated like normal car wrecks. A competent practitioner will be able to wade through the numerous federally required documents maintained by the company, and develop these additional theories of liability. The Houghton Law Firm, LLC litigates numerous truck wreck cases nationwide, and works tirelessly in the face of steadfast opposition to maximize the value of these claims.