How Do Trucking Companies Ensure They are Hiring Safe Drivers in California?
While semi-trucks are obviously dangerous vehicles due to their size, weight, and lack of maneuverability, the real issue is the human element. If the truck driver is an unsafe, irresponsible individual, there is a high likelihood of a crash. As long as the semi-truck has been properly maintained, there is no reason these vehicles should be any more prone to crashes than any other vehicle on the road. But as soon as you put a negligent trucker behind the wheel, the situation becomes much more dangerous for everyone involved.
So how do trucking companies make sure they are working with safe drivers? This is an important question, especially if you have been involved in a semi-truck accident. If you were injured by a negligent trucker, you might be wondering why the trucking company decided to hire this individual. These questions can be even more important if you learn that the trucker who caused your crash had a track record of serious negligence. Showing that a company hired a dangerous trucker is a solid strategy if you are trying to prove negligence and receive compensation for your injuries.
So, what do trucking companies do in California to ensure safe drivers behind the wheel? What kind of steps do they take after truckers exhibit recklessness or negligence? Are there any government regulations that ensure safe drivers? How might a trucker lose their license? What kind of requirements do insurance companies place on trucking companies when it comes to hiring and screening? Let’s find out:
How Trucking Companies are Supposed to Hire Safe Drivers
Safety begins with the hiring process. With careful screening measures, trucking companies can avoid hiring drivers with a long history of negligence, crashes, and reckless behaviors. One of the most important steps in this hiring process is the DOT background check. This process includes a Motor Vehicle Report for every state the trucker has ever worked in. One of the most important aspects of the screening process includes a FMCSA drug and alcohol background check. As the name suggests, this test lets the trucking company know about any past issues with drugs or alcohol. These issues are relatively common among truckers, and this test helps trucking companies avoid hiring people who may become intoxicated behind the wheel.
But the drug tests do not end there. The driver is also subject to a pre-employment drug test that informs trucking companies about any potential drug use in the present. This is useful if truckers are completely new to the industry and do not have a past history of drug tests. These days, trucker shortages force trucking companies to hire completely new truckers – often as young as 18. As a result, these pre-employment drug tests are more important than ever.
The DOT also requires each trucker to go through a physical exam before hiring. This helps identify any potential medical issues that the trucker might be dealing with. Many of these issues may impede a trucker’s ability to drive safely. Perhaps most obviously, the trucker’s eyesight will be tested to ensure they can drive safely. If they do not have glasses, they may be legally required to get them. Medical tests can also reveal other issues that could affect driver safety, including seizures or even dementia.
It is worth mentioning that if trucking companies fail to properly screen their drivers before hiring, they may lose their insurance coverage.
Even after the hiring process, trucking companies must continuously subject their drivers to additional testing and screening. Drug tests must be conducted regularly, and each driver must go through a physical exam on an annual basis. In addition, trucking companies must keep careful records of their drivers and update these records if things change. Perhaps most importantly, they must keep detailed records about the drivers’ accidents or traffic incidents. Any injuries sustained in these accidents must be carefully logged. Traffic tickets must also be kept on file. If the trucker’s license is suspended, the company must make a record of this. Finally, if the trucker decides to leave the company, or if they are fired, their employer must take note of the circumstances involved.
When Might a Trucker Get Fired?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to fire a trucker lies entirely in the hands of their employer. A government agency cannot force a trucking company to fire one of their workers, but they can make it impossible for the employment relationship to continue. For example, the authorities can put a trucker in prison for a DUI. They can also suspend or completely revoke their license, making it impossible for them to drive.
That being said, trucking companies often choose to fire drivers for a number of reasons. For example, a trucker who continuously crashes represents a major liability for the organization. Not only do these crashes increase their insurance premiums, but they also result in additional repair costs. Cargo may also be damaged or destroyed, representing a major loss. Because of these basic financial factors, trucking companies are incentivized to fire dangerous truckers.
Where Can I Find a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for a semi-truck accident attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. With our assistance, you can hold negligent trucking companies accountable and receive compensation for your injuries. Bad hiring processes and lackluster disciplinary action represent two common forms of negligence for trucking companies. If these dangerous companies allow reckless truckers to get behind the wheel, they must be held accountable. Fortunately, it should be relatively easy to file a personal injury lawsuit, receive a settlement for your injuries, and cover your expenses such as medical expenses and missed wages. You can also receive compensation for non-economic damages, including emotional distress, PTSD, depression, pain and suffering, and so on.
Book your consultation with us at your earliest convenience. Remember, internet research is only the first step in pursuing justice – and you have much further to go if you want compensation for your injuries. Fortunately, we will be with you every step of the way once you get in touch. Reach out today to get started with an effective action plan.