The safety of tractor trailers and commercial drivers is for us all.
When we see a tractor trailer or a company truck rolling by us, we hope that the company has done a good job ensuring the safety of the rig as well as the driver. We need them to because there are too many of them on the roads. If none of the trucking companies were safety conscious, we would all be in some big trouble.
Now, what does that mean for this article on trucking safety? Of course, just like in every profession, there are bad apples. Also, anytime there is a profit at stake, the temptation to let safety take a backseat is high. When the profit motive blinds a company of their ability to keep safety first, the danger rises for us all on the roadways.
Let's look at the routine truck inspections:
When a truck is in the yard, if there is maintenance to be done to it, we expect it to be done. Whether it means replacing old or worn down brakes or putting on new tires because the tread is running low, we want trucks on the road with safe equipment. We expect this with all drivers, but demand it with professionals because this is their job.
Trucks get inspected before they are fired up in the morning, which is called a pre-trip inspection. This usually takes about 45 minutes to do correctly. It covers testing gauges, tires, air pressure, brakes, connections, and all visual aspects of the truck. This is for nothing other than safety!
Then, after a day of driving, a post-trip inspection is performed. This again goes over everything that was done that morning and puts the drivers mind at ease that nothing needs to be repaired while during off-duty time.
All of this must get written down or entered into an electronic document. This allows a company to know the status of their equipment, but most importantly for a driver to report a red flag versus a non-safety item that needs to be repaired at the end of the trip.
For example, a safety concern would be a leak in the air brake. That is a red flag issue and should shut that truck down. A non-safety item would be an A/C unit that goes out and makes it uncomfortable to drive but does not impact the main safety concerns of seeing, stopping, turning, etc.
When there is a wreck, what is involved at a scene inspection?
Any time a tractor trailer is involved in a wreck, there is some form of a scene inspection. This involves sending a company representative out to the scene as well as an accident reconstructionist or trucking expert.
A full scene inspection will usually include a full accident reconstruction with tape, markings, surveys, measurements, pictures, videos, recreations of the drive from all angles, weather reports, etc. Other scene inspections can include a mixture of these as well. Whatever is determined to be necessary for that adequate recreation to be done.
If there is a concern about driving views from the truck driver, then a similar sized and type of truck is rented and used to test visuals. It can be a blind spot, up ahead view issues, or turning angles. Whatever the defenses are in a case, we can usually disprove them by some form of accident reconstruction.
Believe it or not, we do see trucking companies neglect to perform any type of scene inspection after a wreck. When this happens, we know that the motive of the trucking company is to not care. Usually they just slap the driver on the wrist and put him back on the road. When trucking companies do not want to know how a wreck could have been prevented to better train their drivers, we know that we are dealing with a company that likely does not have qualified drivers or properly supervised drivers.
Many times if a scene is not inspected after a wreck, skid marks go missing over time. These are so critical to combat lies by a truck driver. If there are no skid marks after a wreck at the scene, then we can combat the defense that "we slammed on our brakes but just couldn't stop". If there are no skid marks, likely not true.
Vehicle inspections after a wreck.
On any vehicle inspection, we are looking to see if the damage matches the truck drivers story of HOW the wreck happened. Property damage on the outside does not dictate what happened to the occupants. That is a myth created by the defense that no property damage on the outside means no injury could have occurred on the inside. We look at property damage to determine whether a truck driver made any evasive action or lied about an improper lane change.
How are we trying to clean up the trucking industry?
Many people think that truck drivers get a bad reputation because they are ... truck drivers. I don't believe that truck drivers are bad people or bad drivers. Many are absolutely professional drivers and great people with wonderful families. Some of the ones that make bad decisions are forced to because of the incentives or demands the trucking company puts on them. They must put food on their table. Is it their fault the trucking company booked them a back to back? They could say no, but they have to survive. It doesn't mean you cut the driver a break but in order to stop this from happening again, we must go to the source = the trucking company.
Similarly, we have represented many truck drivers over the years in their injury cases when hit by reckless drivers. They have become our friends and remain a big part of our firm moving forward. All of them discuss that they want to see good truck drivers on the roads. It is no different than athletes that want to see clean athletes competing.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck wreck or in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, give us a call. We are here for you and here to protect your evidence in the case. We are ready to jump in and stand by your side throughout your journey to closure.
The Button Law Firm handles trucking and commercial vehicle cases all over Texas, especially in Midland, Odessa, Dallas, DFW and Houston. Give us a call, send us a message and request all of our free information. Together we can make a difference in your lives.