Truck accidents are a common occurrence in the United States. In 2015 alone, there were nearly 4,000 fatal crashes and more than 476,000 non-fatal accidents that involved at least one large truck or bus. These numbers have risen steadily in the past decade.
In an effort to improve safety and reduce commercial driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented hours-of-service regulations in 2013, which limits driving time to 11 hours per day and mandates rest periods. However, a multitude of labor complaints and lawsuits and an investigation conducted by reporters from USA Today suggest that trucking companies may be undermining these safety regulations by forcing their drivers to work much longer hours and falsify their logbooks.
Falsifying logbooks is nothing new—some trucking industry insiders jokingly refer to these logbooks as “comic books” in a nod to how much fiction they contain. But driver abuse is an unsettling explanation for why some commercial drivers engage in this dangerous deception.
According to the USA Today investigation, some trucking companies ensnare their drivers—many of whom are poor immigrants who speak very little English—in truck-leasing schemes, saddling them with debt they can't afford. To keep up with the truck payments owed to their employers, some drivers had no choice but to work up to 100 hours per week. Drivers who quit, got sick, or took time off to bury a loved one could have their truck seized and lose everything they paid toward owning it. Even drivers who worked long hours and didn't get sick could owe the trucking company money at the end of the week.
Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer You Can Trust?
Indentured servitude-type practices that push drivers beyond the limits of safety can endanger everyone on the road. If you were injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Holton Law Firm's experienced personal injury lawyers will investigate the cause of your accident to determine if truck driver abuse played a role. If it did, you may be able to pursue compensation from the trucking company, as well as the driver. Contact Holton Law Firm to schedule a free initial review of your truck accident case.