How Trucking Companies Indirectly Cause Truck Accidents


Truck accidents usually cause catastrophic or devastating injuries and damage, with thousands. More than 168,000 truck accidents happen each year, according to a report. About 32% of this number end up with just injuries, while 3% result in deaths.

Most of the time, the truckers are held liable for the accident. However, there are other possible causes of truck accidents. Sometimes, the cause of a truck accident can be traced back to the negligence of the trucking company. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are some laws and precautions that truck companies are expected to follow before allowing their trucks on the road.

Let us explore the scenarios and causes of truck accidents that make trucking companies liable. This information can come in handy for victims seeking compensation.

When is a Trucking Company Liable for a Truck Accident 

A report by the Insurance for Highway Safety shows that one-tenth of fatal highway accidents involve a commercial truck. For victims seeking compensation, it is important to understand how trucking companies can directly or indirectly contribute to truck accidents.

Inadequate Training

It is the responsibility of trucking companies to ensure that their drivers are competent and adequately trained. A background check is usually carried out on the drivers. This will inform the company of the eligibility and competence of the drivers. Federal regulations require that trucking companies verify their truckers’ commercial licenses, health status, and employment history. Failure to do all of these makes them liable for any accidents involving their drivers.

Inadequate Truck Maintenance

Again, according to federal regulations, trucking companies are required to perform routine maintenance on their vehicles. This practice is to help identify defects that will be detrimental to the truck’s performance on the road. Common defects include:

  • Suspension failure
  • Steering failure
  • Engine or transmission failure
  • Trailer attachment failure
  • Door failure
  • Lighting defects

Failure to perform these routine inspections and maintenance compromises the safety of their drivers, other motorists, and even pedestrians. When an accident occurs as a result of a mechanical failure, the owners of the trucks will be held responsible and made to share liability.

Violation of Federal Regulations

There is a stringent set of regulations aimed at ensuring the safety of truck drivers and the public. The trucking companies are expected to comply with these rules to reduce the occurrence of accidents. Areas covered under these regulations include:

  • Hours of service rules
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Training requirements
  • Cargo securement rules
  • Inspection and maintenance rules
  • Weight and size limitations
  • Record keeping

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is a legal concept where employers are held accountable for the actions performed by their employees within the scope of employment. So, if an accident occurs while the truck driver is carrying out job duties, the trucking company can be held responsible. Even if the driver was negligent, the company is held responsible under the vicarious liability concept.

Negligent Supervision

Truck drivers should be regularly supervised by their employers. They should be monitored to ensure compliance with safety protocols when behind the wheel. This should happen as often as possible. Where any safety violation is observed, measures should be taken to correct it. This can go a long way toward avoiding accidents that would have caused them.

Inappropriate Loading Practices

To maintain the stability of a truck during transit, trucking companies must pay attention to effective loading protocols. It has been observed that practices such as overloading and the use of defective equipment also pose risks of accidents. They must make sure the cargo is properly and securely loaded before it hits the road. Any shift during transit is a risk, as it can lead to an accident.