As a seasoned attorney, Sam Madia spent the initial part of his legal career representing national trucking companies in injury and death lawsuits. In 2015, Sam created Shaffer Madia Law and now takes on cases against large trucking companies. Because of his previous experience representing them, Sam knows the secrets that trucking companies and their insurers want to keep hidden, and he uses that knowledge to his clients’ advantage.
Based on Sam’s extensive experience representing both sides of truck crash cases, here are some common reasons why these crashes occur:
#1: Inadequate, insufficient or no training at all.
Trucking companies may need to fill driving positions quickly, leading to drivers getting very little training before operating on the road. These drivers are inexperienced and not sufficiently trained which can be a deadly combination. Sam knows the right questions to ask and the right documents to seek when exploring training issues in his truck crash cases.
#2: Drivers are hired without thorough background checks.
Once again, often, trucking companies need to fill driving positions quickly, and companies do not take the time to thoroughly check driver’s backgrounds and previous driving records. Sam has been involved in several cases where an employer would have been aware of a driver’s bad driving habits had the employer taken an hour or so to contact a driver’s former employers. It is possible that the driver they hired had been in a trucking accident at the previous company they worked for, but without a thorough examination of their history, it could remain unknown to their new employer.
#3: Drivers are attempting to meet delivery deadlines.
Drivers are given strict deadlines to make their deliveries, and it is often the case that a driver will be given multiple deliveries to make in multiple states for the same day. The driver may experience a problem with one delivery that causes a significant delay to their trip for the next delivery.
For example, a truck driver experiences a delay at a delivery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that was scheduled for delivery by 1 pm. No one is there to unload the shipment when he arrives, and an hour passes by the time someone comes and unloads the cargo. His next delivery is due in Baltimore, Maryland by 5:30 pm. Baltimore is a four-hour drive from Pittsburgh and now the driver has been delayed by an hour, so he will have to speed to make the delivery on time. Speeding is already dangerous in perfect weather conditions, but the driver could be speeding through rain, fog, snow, or other factors that make the drive even more dangerous.
#4: Drivers work long hours with little rest.
Drivers may also skip resting periods if they are running behind schedule. This is dangerous because truck drivers often have very long trips to make, which leads to driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers are less focused and may make riskier choices when driving due to their lack of concentration in their surroundings.
#5: Drivers become distracted.
Long hours driving also leads to boredom, and boredom leads to finding distractions. Truck drivers may begin eating and drinking, using their cell phone, or zoning out while driving because they have become bored of doing the same task for so long.
They may also do these things if they are not taking the proper rest breaks, in order to stay on schedule. Instead of taking a 30-minute break to eat lunch, call a loved one, and browse social media, drivers will complete all these tasks in their truck while driving.
#6: Oversized load regulations are not followed properly.
There are strict rules and regulations put in place to ensure that the transportation of oversized loads can be accomplished safely. However, not all trucking companies follow these rules. They may not have a permit to transport the load being transported. Alternatively, the oversized load may not be secured properly. The oversize load also may require one or multiple escort vehicles to accompany the tractor which is a rule that not all trucking companies abide by. Failing to obtain the proper permits and following the rules of transporting oversized loads can put everyone on the road at risk.
#7: Drivers are unfamiliar with the area’s roads.
Truck drivers travel to different parts of the country every day. Often time, the roads traveled are not familiar to the truck driver. These new routes of travel may require more attention to driving safely than recommended by the road signs, but drivers do not have much else to go on in an unfamiliar place.
For example, the speed limit on a curvy road may be 50 mph, however, due to the number of potholes on the road, in order to drive safely, the driver shouldn’t drive faster than 40 mph. A driver who is new to the area would not know that driving the speed limit is actually dangerous and more likely to cause an accident.