According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, 109 people lost their lives on Alabama roadways in collisions involving large trucks during 2013. The effects of a semi truck crash are often more serious because of the relative size and weight of the vehicle. These motor vehicle crashes are not always solely the fault of those who are behind the wheel. In some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against the driver, the truck company and other persons or entities that contributed to the condition which caused the accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets and enforces regulations for trucking companies and drivers. These include the number of hours a driver can work in a period of time, which are limited to prevent truck driver fatigue. Employers are responsible for enforcing acceptable schedules for their drivers, and they are specifically prohibited from coercing their drivers to violate any of the FMCSA regulations regarding logbook entries, hours worked and other issues that cause safety hazards.
Trucking companies must follow federal guidelines in their hiring practices by performing thorough background checks to ensure that their employees have valid commercial driver’s licenses and are not under any restrictions for unsafe driving. Employers must also test their drivers regularly for alcohol and controlled substance use.
The Commercial Driver License Manual published by the Alabama Department of Public Safety lists guidelines for truck operators to follow for vehicle maintenance before and after each day’s drive. While drivers are generally responsible for the condition of their trucks, a mechanical issue caused by a manufacturing defect or a faulty repair may place liability with the manufacturer, the mechanic or the truck owner.