COMMERCIAL TRANSPORT COMPANIES AND THEIR DUTY TO HIRE AND TRAIN DRIVERS

When you're driving alongside a large commercial vehicle, such as a private coach bus or tractor-trailer, you have a right to assume that the driver of that vehicle has been appropriately screened before being allowed to get behind the wheel, and is well-trained in how to safely operate the vehicle. When companies fail to exercise an appropriate level of care when selecting and training their drivers, your safety and the safety of others on the road may be at risk.

Employers are often legally responsible for negligent acts their employees commit while on the job. Relatedly, they are responsible for choosing someone who does not pose a known risk of being dangerous on the job for which the employee is being hired. If a job candidate for an after-school program has a history of inappropriate conduct with children, for example, the program has a duty to uncover that fact through a thorough candidate screening process. In a similar manner, a transportation company hiring an individual to drive long distances in a large and potentially-dangerous vehicle should ensure that the driver they select both has an excellent safety record, and keeps it that way. If the employer fails to conduct a complete background check and misses such important facts as a criminal history of driving while intoxicated, or the driver develops concerning behavior after being hired which the employer fails to recognize, that employer could face additional liability should the driver injure someone on the road.

Companies that employ commercial drivers who are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are obligated to retain certain records for each driver for just this purpose. These employers must retain records noting, among other things, each incident where a driver received a citation or was involved in any sort of accident. If the company has failed to retain these records, this would be a violation of federal law. These records could be highly valuable for accident victims to review, in order to learn whether there was any advance warning that the driver was a threat to public safety.

If you have been injured in a truck accident or otherwise hurt by a commercial vehicle, contact the skilled and diligent personal injury attorneys at Morristown personal injury law firm Smith & Doran for a free consultation on your case, at 973-292-0016.

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