A recent truck accident in Texas resulted in multiple injuries after a load fell off of an 18-wheeler that was traveling on Interstate 35. According to the Galveston County Daily News, the 18-wheeler was transporting utility poles when the driver crashed the truck into a concrete barrier. The load from the vehicle spilled across the highway, backing up traffic and resulting in a collision with one vehicle. Traffic was diverted for hours because of the incident and it is not yet clear exactly what led to the crash.
Although the investigation is still ongoing, the truck accident is a perfect illustration of the importance of securing a load before driving. Truck drivers have many responsibilities both related to safe driving and related to ensuring that their loads are balanced and secure. Trucking companies should make sure that the drivers they hire live up to the responsibilities for maintaining safety when engaged in these day-to-day tasks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a tool to help trucking companies make sure that their employees are responsible, and a recent study by the FMCSA shows that trucking companies that make use of the tool experience fewer accidents involving their drivers on the job.
FMCSA Program Helps Trucking Companies to Hire Safe Drivers
Although the FMCSA has a myriad of safety rules designed to keep streets safe from big trucks, these safety rules are only effective if truck drivers comply with them. Trucking companies can provide some supervision but aren't with the drivers every day on every route and so must be able to depend upon the drivers the company hires. Truck accident attorneys in Houston know that a trucking company could be found legally liable if the truck driver is negligent on duty, so the stakes are high for trucking companies.
In 2010, the FMCSA established a pre-employment screening program (PSP) that was designed to make things easier for trucking companies to make smart hiring choices. Employers can search the record and background of a driver they are considering hiring. The program includes five years of data on truck accidents involving drivers as well as three years of data on inspections performed on commercial trucks. Trucking companies can look up a driver the company is thinking of hiring to see his background and any past history of problems.
The pre-employment screening program is voluntary, but by 2013, there were as many as 35,000 users and the FMCSA reported that these trucking-industry employers were making as many as 70,000 requests for information on drivers every single month.
Companies who used the program had a marked decline in problems. Trucking Info reports that carriers who made use of PSP systems experienced a 17.2 percent decline in out-of-service violations committed by drivers when compared with carriers that didn't use the program. The biggest decline was experienced by carriers who employed between six and 20 drivers.
Since the use of pre-employment screening appears to make a big difference, every trucking company that is serious about safety should consider making use of this service. Victims of accidents caused by truck drivers may also be able to use information about a trucking company's pre-employment screening practices to determine if the trucking company is legally liable for negligent hiring.
Contact Hagood & Neumann at (800) 632-9404 today to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer. Offices in Houston and Galveston.