Semi-trucks are an essential part of the modern economy. They help to keep grocery stores stocked with produce and provide a cost-effective means of transporting everything from beer and unpasteurized cow’s milk in refrigerated liquid trailers to motor vehicles fresh off the production line.
Of course, the trade-off for that efficient transportation is the risk that semi-trucks generate for others in traffic. Individual drivers can do a lot to reduce crash risk, but so can the companies that employ semi-truck drivers. How can transportation companies reduce the chances of one of their drivers causing a crash?
They can install underride guards
Technically, many semi-trucks already have one type of underride guard. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place requiring rear underride guards on every trailer hauled by a semi-truck. However, the guards required by law are not the strongest or widest ones available, and the FMCSA does not yet require side underride guards. Companies could prevent or diminish the impact of severe crashes if they would only embrace underride guards instead of fighting them and trying to minimize the expense related to them at every turn.
They can prioritize rule adherence
It is common practice for transportation companies to try to work around restrictive federal rules whenever possible. They may pressure their workers to stay on the road longer than they should or to pick up phone calls while in control of the truck and therefore unable to safely handle a phone. Trucking companies can decrease the likelihood of their drivers causing crashes by making adherence to traffic safety statutes a top priority.
They can carefully maintain their fleets
A significant number of commercial vehicle collisions occur not because of something a driver does but instead because of issues with the vehicle. Bad brakes, balding tires and numerous other maintenance issues can contribute to crashes. Transportation companies that make vehicle maintenance a top priority can greatly reduce the likelihood of a mechanical issue contributing to a wreck.
In scenarios where a trucking company may have contributed to a crash, those affected by the semi-truck wreck may have grounds to take legal action in addition to filing an insurance claim. Looking carefully at the circumstances related to a semi-truck collision can help people to establish what legal options they have when seeking compensation.