The Impact of Driver Shortages on Commercial Trucking Safety
There is an historic shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers in California and the rest of the country, according to the figures released by the American Trucking Association. There are about 80,000 unfilled truck driver positions, and the situation is only expected to worsen over the next few years. Your truck accident and injuries could have occurred because the trucking company failed to hire trained and qualified drivers or forced its existing drivers to work excessively in order to overcome the shortage.
An experienced truck accident attorney will find evidence to show that the trucking company forced their drivers to violate federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, meet unrealistic delivery deadlines, indulged in negligent hiring practices, and/or turned a blind eye to falsified or erroneous driver’s logs. These factors can easily contribute to speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, fatigued driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors of truckers.
The attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP know that the aging workforce in the trucking business has a role to play in truck accidents. In California, the average truck driver is about 50 years of age. Unfortunately, trucking companies are replacing experienced drivers that are nearing retirement with younger and inexperienced drivers with inadequate training. Our attorneys will investigate all these factors and more to prove the trucking company’s fault in the accident.
Proving Liability of a Trucking Company in Semi-Truck Accidents in California
Leading California trucking accident attorneys will have the skills, resources, and experience to take on large and powerful trucking companies and prove their liability.
- Pressurizing drivers: Your attorney will prove whether the trucking company incentivized or otherwise pressured the semi-truck operator into taking unreasonable risks or working excessively. This can result in accidents due to distraction, fatigue, intoxication, and drowsiness of the negligent trucker.
- HOS violations: A qualified attorney will immediately review the trucking company’s records and driver’s logbooks to determine Hours of Service (HOS) violations. The trucking company could have allowed federal violations, which eventually resulted in an accident and injuries.
- Negligent hiring: The trucking company may have resorted to negligent hiring because of the historic shortage of experienced drivers in the industry. Your attorney will investigate if any negligent hiring practices were employed, such as insufficient background checks or negligent retention of the driver.
Hours of Service (HOS) Violations in California
Big rig carriers usually have the sole motive of maximizing their profits even when it is at the cost of the safety of others. Federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are frequently violated resulting in driver distraction, fatigue, drowsiness, and other reckless driving behaviors.
Your California truck accident attorney will investigate and try to prove:
- Whether overambitious schedules were set by the trucking company to meet deadlines.
- Were big rig drivers forced to unofficially exceed the number of mandatory hours of service?
- Did the trucking company have incentive or bonus policies based on unrealistic delivery goals that motivated the drivers to lie on the logs and go beyond regular service hours?
- Were the big rig drivers incentivized on a “per load” basis, which motivated them to work off the clock and deliver more loads?
- Did the trucking company favor or turn a blind eye to drivers bending the HOS rules?
- Were there any HR policies that undermined or retaliated against the drivers that refused to violate the federal hours of service rules?
Finding Evidence When Log Books Are Falsified
In many cases, driver’s logbooks can be falsified. It takes an experienced big rig accident attorney with a trained team of investigators to find the necessary evidence for proving HOS violations in the following manner:
- Logbooks: All big rig drivers are required to maintain a record of every trip and delivery. Competent attorneys can identify inaccuracies and falsification through deep analysis.
- Engine control module: There is a black box or an event data recorder in every truck. This includes the ECM or engine control module that records the driver’s logs. Faking this data can be difficult. Moreover, attorneys need to move fast to secure this data. This is why you should never delay in speaking with a proven truck accident attorney if involved in an accident.
- Computer systems: Computer systems in trucks have a wide range of tracking data. This data is compared with driver’s logbooks and ECM data for identifying discrepancies.
- Bills of lading: This key shipping document shows the precise location of a truck driver at any specific time. The records of different bills of lading should match the logbooks.
- Tickets and receipts: Gas station receipts, toll booth tickets, weight station records, and refreshment bills can pinpoint the driver’s location. This can be used for contradicting the logbooks.
Choose a Leading Truck Accident Law Firm with a Proven Record of Settlements and Verdicts
The California truck accident attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP are here to serve you and ensure that everything is done right to maximize your financial recovery. Our experienced attorneys have decades of combined experience holding large and powerful big rig companies and their insurers liable for their negligent actions.
Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call 619-441-2500 or write to us online.