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How Trucking Companies Put You at Risk

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Truck Accidents on February 7, 2020

Due to the large size of most semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs, truck accidents in Portland have the potential to be major catastrophic events. Crashes often involve other motorists and can trigger multi-vehicle pile-ups. They can also impact the local community due to traffic tie-ups, property or infrastructure damages, and the potential for hazardous spills. While the first place truck accident investigators are likely to look in determining the causes is the truck driver’s behavior, trucking company practices are often partly to blame. 

Trucking Company Practices That Increase the Risk of Accidents

Truck accidents in Portland are often blamed on reckless behavior of the truck driver or on mechanical defects, such as brake failure or tire blow-outs. The reality is that negligent trucking company practices may ultimately be responsible, making these companies liable in truck accident claims. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) receives reports on the more than 450,000 truck accidents that occur throughout the country each year. Trucking company practices that play a role in these crashes include: 

  • Hiring unqualified drivers: There are strict training and licensing requirements for truck drivers. Not properly vetting drivers and ensuring they have the right qualifications for a particular job increases the risk of truck accidents. 
  • Not providing the proper training: Truck drivers receive specialized training offered through national programs or larger trucking companies. Their employers have an obligation to supplement this education with specialized training regarding specific jobs, types of cargo, and the type of rigs they operate. 
  • Lax attitudes towards violations of company policy: Trucking companies have policies to ensure safety, which includes dealing with truckers who are cited for traffic infractions. Not acting on violations or addressing the underlying behavior puts motorists at risk. 
  • Overscheduling: Trucking companies are in business to make a profit. This means meeting customer demands. Unfortunately, it can result in them overscheduling drivers and not providing adequate days off. Overly demanding schedules that do not allow for breaks or require overnight driving increase the risks of drowsy driving accidents. Unreasonable deadlines in deliveries also make drivers more likely to speed and go too fast for road or weather conditions. 

Other Common Issues in Truck Accidents

Another common cause of truck accidents that may be tied to trucking company policies concerns cargo. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has strict requirements for commercial drivers in terms of load type and size. Making drivers carry too large or even too small a load can result in dangerous cargo shifts, increasing the risks of rollover accidents. 

Maintenance issues in regards to truck repairs are another common problem. Trucking companies may operate an older fleet or neglect needed repairs as a way of saving on expenses. 

Get Legal Guidance From Our Portland Truck Accident Attorneys

At the Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we determine the underlying causes of truck accidents so that injured victims can get the compensation they need to recover. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online today. 


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