Jason Stephens | January 31, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Commercial truck drivers often spend a dozen hours each day fighting traffic, boredom, and deadlines to carry goods across the country. Even with alternatives like trains, ships, and airplanes, American shippers still send nearly 72% of freight by truck.
Despite all the rules that govern truck drivers, they still cause truck accidents. Commercial motor vehicles in Texas caused over 38,000 crashes in 2021. In Tarrant County alone, truck crashes caused 23 deaths and 832 injuries that year.
Reporting Unsafe Truck Drivers
When truck drivers engage in unsafe driving behaviors, they put themselves, other road users, and the environment at risk. A truck crash can cause severe or even fatal injuries and spill fuel, cargo, and hazardous materials on the roadway.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks cause about 55% of truck accidents. Of these crashes, 87% result from truck driver errors. The remaining 13% result from mechanical failures and environmental hazards.
Common driver errors include:
- Misjudging other vehicles’ speeds or distances
- Distracted driving
- Improper surveillance
- Drowsy driving
Fortunately, you have several options for reporting unsafe truck drivers.
Fort Worth Police Department and Texas Highway Patrol
If you spot a truck driver endangering other road users, you can call the police. When the driver is on Fort Worth’s city streets, you can call the Fort Worth Police Department. For drivers on highways or interstate freeways, you can call the Texas Highway Patrol.
For an imminent danger, like weaving or driving on the sidewalks, you can call 911. If you spot a non-emergency situation, like an uncovered load, you can call the non-emergency number.
The FMCSA has primary jurisdiction over interstate trucking companies in the U.S. that cross state or international borders. If you report a hazard to the FMCSA, the agency will contact the trucking company that employs the driver.
The FMCSA may open an investigation and require the trucking company to follow up with its driver. If the agency determines the trucking company created a safety hazard by hiring or retaining the driver, it can issue a fine or even revoke its right to operate.
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). If you file a complaint with the Texas DMV, the department can suspend or revoke the driver’s CDL.
The Texas DMV also regulates trucking companies that only do business within Texas, including local bus carriers and moving companies. A complaint can result in fines or other actions against the truck operator.
The Trucking Company
You have probably seen trucks or trailers with phone numbers printed on them to report safety issues. Truck companies do this due to the enormous legal exposure they face for truck crashes.
If you contact the trucking company, it must take action or risk serious consequences. Under the law, failing to address a known problem could constitute reckless or even intentional behavior.
Consequences of Unsafe Driving for Truckers
Regardless of the system through which they are reported, careless truck drivers can lose their CDLs and expose their employers to enforcement actions.
Trucking companies also bear liability for truck accidents caused by their employees. Accident victims can file insurance claims or lawsuits seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If the company fails to act on driver complaints, it can also get hit with punitive damages. As a result, reporting unsafe driving to the trucking company will often result in action against the driver.
If you’ve been in an accident with an unsafe truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact Stephens Law to discuss your rights and options after a truck crash.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107