When there is a truck accident in Kentucky or anywhere across the United States, the focus is understandably on those who might have been injured or lost their lives in a crash. Trucks are large, travel at significant speeds, have drivers who are on the road for long stretches and go great distances. If there is a collision, liability can be a factor. While people who have been injured or lost a loved one have rights, it is important to remember that companies have the right to defend themselves against allegations that they were somehow responsible. In some instances, the allegations of truck company or driver wrongdoing are inaccurate and there are viable avenues of defense.
FMCSA discusses ongoing safety issues
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is expressing growing concern about truck crashes and how they occur. They are assessing crashes that occur in work zones, drivers who are distracted, truckers who travel beyond the posted speed limit, and pedestrian accidents. Analysts say that there has been a rise in these truck crashes in recent years. Before implementing policies to address the causes of truck collisions, researchers must determine the how and the why. This is directly linked to the level of responsibility placed at the feet of a trucker and the truck company that employs him or her.
If a trucker’s behavior is viewed as a catalyst for the crash, it could be a key aspect of how a legal claim moves forward and the strategy for a defense. Truckers who are accused of using a handheld device when behind the wheel, texting, making calls, using navigation apps or simply surfing the web could be blamed for specific kinds of accidents. Because truckers are on the road for so long and need to get their delivery to its destination, speeding is a prevalent problem.
In some instances, the truck company might be accused of encouraging drivers to push beyond legal limits in various ways. Not only does that involve speeding, but it could include drivers staying on the road longer than they are legally allowed without adequate rest, resulting in drowsy driving. Some truckers might drink or use drugs. This too can fall into the lap of the company for not having sufficient testing procedures and strategies to keep drivers with these problems off the road. Regarding hours-of-service, there is new flexibility for truckers to make their own decisions within parameters. The FMCSA expressed surprise that violations stayed relatively static from before the changes and after them.
Truck companies should understand how to craft a defense
Even with truck driver behaviors constantly mentioned as an accident cause, the facts say that more than two-thirds of fatal truck crashes are shown to have been due to driver behavior. This could be a fundamental part of trucking defense. People who have been hurt or had a loved one die in a truck accident will inevitably try to recover some form of compensation. If there are allegations that a trucker violated regulations, the truck was not properly maintained, the driver was under the influence, there was inadequate training and documentation for the driver, weight restrictions were violated or there were other areas of blame pointed at the company, it is imperative to have a strong defense to avoid massive payouts.