How Trucking Companies Can Be Liable for an Accident
After an Arizona truck accident of almost any variety, motorists tend to immediately cast blame on the truck driver, as they’ll be the most obviously involved party. While this is usually accurate in the context of normal two-car collisions, trucks have far more complexity to them, thus tying them to the actions of far more parties than just the driver. Trucking companies can be just as liable as any trucker, if not more so, depending on how negligently they act.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Truckers are commercial employees entrusted with the care of ungainly vehicles and their cargo, necessitating safety-oriented hiring practices from trucking companies before they can begin to transfer freight. Although a trucker will generally be responsible for the mistakes they make, a truck company could share in that liability if they’ve done any of the following:
- Knowingly hiring an inept truck driver or one with a history of unsafe driving practices, such as prior DUIs and other violations of policy, or
- Failing to provide a new hire with an appropriate amount of training/ certifications in order to responsibly operate their vehicle.
Improper Truck Maintenance and Loading
Although some truckers, especially those operating as freelance contractors, may own, repair, and maintain their own truck, many trucking companies lease fleet vehicles to their employees for usage instead. In these cases, most companies are responsible for regular, high-grade maintenance of their fleet, meaning that any form of mechanical failure can likely be traced back to negligence on their part.
Conversely, even a well-maintained truck may become especially susceptible to tire blowouts, rollover truck accidents, and general crashes if its cargo is loaded incorrectly. Improperly secured or imbalanced cargo can completely shift a truck’s center of mass, to say nothing of the dangers that ensue when cargo falls off a truck entirely, potentially causing those driving behind the truck to crash in the process.
Pressuring Truck Drivers
Over 10% of all large truck accidents involve drivers who felt pressured by dispatchers and their trucking companies at large, largely due to “customer satisfaction guaranteed” mindsets. While the pursuit of profit is to be expected, some trucking companies take things too far, pushing their employees to break the law in profitable ways:
- Trucker hours of service regulations are strict, mandating minimum amounts of breaks, hours of sleep, and maximum shift limits per day and week of service. Trucking companies, however, commonly ignore these limits, pressuring underpaid, overworked drivers to drive for longer, deliver faster, and take fewer breaks.
- In cases where truckers are responsible for maintaining and inspecting their own truck, some trucking companies will further try to cut corners from their schedules, asking their employees to skip or rush through safety inspections from time to time.
Understanding Arizona Truck Accident Liability
Determining liability after a truck accident is often more difficult than it would seem, as you’ll need to launch a specialized investigation into the trucker, trucking company, and any third party agencies they may have worked with to track down who was negligent where. An Arizona truck accident attorney with specialized experience can make this matter easy for you, so be sure to give ELG a call at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.