Discover Top 7 Legal Issues In Trucking Industry

In these days the trucking industry is highly regulated, for drivers and companies too, there are regulatory restrictions, safety risks and other issues that can raise legal concerns.

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Understanding this regulatory restrictions are crucial thing to do for you and your business.

Develop an action and strategy plan to prevent your company from legal penalties of labor disputes, personal injury claims.

Keep up with the regulations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and be sure you are doing everything to ensure that your activities are performed perfectly and in case of legal issues have legal representation to overcome the obstacles.

Potential Truck Accident Legal Charges

Commercial vehicles are involved in many traffic accidents each year. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the most common reasons of truck accidents are mostly negligent truck drivers.

This percentage is bigger than the factors like poor weather or bad road conditions. For better picture there is 44percents of fatalities caused by a trucker who was taking Over the counter (OTC) drugs or prescription medication.

The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) in 2001 estimated 430,000 commercial vehicles in US were involved in accidents

  • over 5,000 people died and
  • 130,000 suffered injury

Source: www.michiganinjurylawyers.com

How tragic is this? This is a personal choice to be irresponsible, knowingly placing the other people in danger, including yourself. Playing Russian roulette on the highway with consumed non prescript medication, can be for the cost of your life. Please don’t do this, don’t play this dangerous game.

There are three groups of laws and regulations that can apply in a commercial vehicle case

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
  2. State laws regulating the operation of any vehicle
  3. State regulations governing the operating vehicles

A commercial truck accident can be much more catastrophic with more serious fatal injuries than an accident between two vehicles for personal use, for getting the right picture have this in mind, fully loaded truck (such as a big rig or dump truck) can weigh at least 25 times more than a personal vehicle/car.

Тhe reason for accident may be:

  • failuire to investigate drivers background
  • ensuring qualification of the truck drivers before dispatching them in commercial operations
  • overlooking drivers driving records
  • hiring a driver without a commercial vehicle drivers license
  • ineffective monitoring of drivers speeding
  • non proper training
  • allowing drivers to drive without proper rest
  • unsuitable equipment for the vehicle
  • improper supervision of truck drivers
  • inappropriate evaluation of drivers’ hours of service with hour of service requirements
  • expired medical examination required period
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • failure to properly maintain the truck
  • providing the driver with radar detection
  • overloading of the truck
  • improperly securing the cargo
  • not meeting minimum safety standards

7 Legal Issues In Trucking Industry 2Source: www.northeast-nc.legalexaminer.com

If the company truck was a part of the accident this following actions can cause legal charges for the trucking company

Many of the following actions can lead to truck accidents and for this actions which contributed to the accident or to the fatal crash, can be a reason for legal charges on the truck driver

  • failure to control speed to avoid collision
  • failure to stop at a red light
  • negligent driving
  • reckless driving
  • driving a truck with inoperative brakes
  • driving a commercial vehicle after being on duty for 70 hours in eight consecutive days
  • driving a vehicle after 14 hours on duty without 10 hours off duty
  • driving a vehicle after having 11 hours on duty without 10 hours off duty
  • driving a commercial vehicle with a falsified record of duty status

Drivers Suing Company For Unpaid Salary

Many of the nation’s commercial truck drivers are falling victims of wage theft or other violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It has become the practice of many trucking companies to classify their drivers as independent contractors while they’re actually employees of that company.

7 Legal Issues In Trucking Industry 3Source: www.humanresourcesonline.net

The shipping companies can find a way around to not pay the truck drivers the total number of actual hours on duty, saving a lot of money.

One common reason for the lawsuit is classifying the truck drivers as independent drivers to prevent an obligation to pay them:

  • insurance
  • social security
  • overtime pay

With these limitations the employee is loosing the right

  • to form a union
  • time for medical abсence or to cover the medical bill for a sick family member
  • right to be free from discrimination (color, religion, gender)

In the food industry common action is to classify their drivers as distributors or independent contractors, or to even make them to sign the ”distributorship” agreement.

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The truck drivers to the court presented the information that they were using company trucks and had no control over their workday and in the eyes of the law the control that the manufacturers have over the drivers tasks and actions, classify the truck drivers as employees of that company.

The conclusion was ” because the company had the control over the driver’s actions, the drivers are employees and not independent contractors”. Boom…! You’ve got a lawsuit.

7 Legal Issues In Trucking Industry 4Source: www.thinkglink.com

Another reason for the lawsuit is when the trucking company does not pay minimum wages for the truck drivers for non-driving tasks, like pre-trip and post-trip inspections or for the time spent waiting for the load to be ready for transport.

There is a case where truck drivers were required to arrive at work early in the morning where there was no trucks available for the driver to do his work, and the drivers had to wait in the employer’s truck yard,  without pay, until a truck was issued to them.

After a time of reviewing and the process of trial for these actions, the trucking company was forced to repay compensation to the drivers.

We are all humans first and then people of business. Don’t forget this and give your employees the right they are entitled to, because if you do not treat them right, you may be slapped with a low suit which can be more expensive.

Companies Not Paying Insurance

Cargo insurance is to protect the freight from possible damage during transport. When the trucking company selects Truck Cargo insurance, also select a limit for the coverage.

insurance claim formSource: www.anextweb.com

This limit determines the maximum amount that the insurance company will pay for damaged or destroyed cargo. Also means that trucking company needs to choose a deductible, which is the agreed amount that will pay out of pocket in case of a claim.

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