Defective Trucks: a Result of Employer Negligence

The enormous size of big rigs or 18-wheelers, is enough to make this type of vehicle a threat on the road and, considering the fact that truck drivers usually drive for about 11 hours a day, concern on road safety can easily come into play. Concerns, such as the possibility of drivers feeling fatigued, as well as their skills and qualification before being allowed to drive a truck.

For many truck drivers, eleven hours of driving with very short rest periods is normal work. Due to this very tough and demanding task, a type of training, which will develop and further improve applicant and experienced drivers’ skills in operating a truck, and passing a test set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in order to earn a commercial vehicle license, are strictly required by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

Despite federal laws and programs aimed at eliminating or substantially reducing truck accidents , the U.S. Department of Transportation, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), continue to record close to 4,000 deaths and more than 70,000 injuries resulting from the more than half a million truck accidents every year.

Though these may be alarming figures (but not as alarming as the statistics for car accidents), there is a more surprising study which shows that close to 80% of truck accidents are fault of drivers of passenger vehicles rather than of truck drivers.

Some of these faults include a passenger vehicle: crossing the center line and driving into a truck’s path, resulting to head-on collision; side-swiping a truck that is going in the same direction or heading the opposite direction; turning across a truck’s path; rear-ending a truck; and cutting in front of a truck and then slowing down.

There are many other causes why truck accidents happen, of course, like a driver losing control due to tire blowout or brake problems, worn-out tires, defective brakes or other truck parts, poorly maintained road, poor weather condition, driver fatigue, driving too fast for road conditions, cargo not properly distributed inside the truck, alcohol or drug impairment, and so forth.

There are more than three million trucks drivers employed in the U.S. and millions of them drive their trucks all across the U.S. every day. Besides federal laws that mandate trucking firms to make sure that their drivers are trained, skilled and not overworked, there are also laws which require these firms to conduct regular inspection, repair and maintenance of their trucks, and keep records of these maintenance jobs ready for government inspection.

According to the Ali Mokarram law firm, “While the number of fatal truck accidents continues to decrease year by year, 18 wheeler accidents still occur every day. Despite the numerous safety measures all trucking companies and their employees must follow, negligence persists as the prevailing cause of these accidents. Negligence comes in many forms, from a driver not checking his blind spot to a transportation company failing to properly maintain their vehicles.

Individuals involved in an 18 wheeler accident can attest to the severity of damage caused by these massive vehicles. These giants may be necessary to deliver the goods consumers need, but when the negligence of a driver or a transportation company causes injuries to an innocent victim, they need to pay compensation to those who suffered.”

Truck accidents almost always have disastrous results. Though studies may show that most of these accidents are due to errors committed by drivers of passenger vehicles, there may be clues that will prove otherwise. Besides having a good doctor who will see to it that you are out of danger, it will equally be wise to have a seasoned personal injury or truck accident attorney, who may be able to help you pursue justice and claim the compensation that you may be legally eligible to receive.

Know Your Rights as an Employee or Applicant for a Job

Creating order and balance in the workplace and, more importantly, protecting employees against any form of employment abuses and discrimination, whether by employers or co-workers, ought to be easier and more guaranteed today with the so many laws intended to uphold and protect the rights of every employee.

These various employment laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a self-regulating body that was approved on July 2, 1964, by the US Congress. The first and foremost duty of the EEOC was to see to the implementation of the Civil Rights Act that was enacted in the same year. The strict implementation of all other laws concerning employment, passed either before or after 1964, has been placed under the care of the EEOC. Some of these laws include:

  • The Equal Pay Act (EPA), which was enacted in 1963. EPA requires payment of equal wage to employees performing the same work in the same workplace. Same work points to the same skills, efforts and responsibilities required in the job.
  • The Civil Rights Act. This law, which was approved in 1964, strictly prohibits any form of workplace discrimination, regardless of basis (race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, genetic information, etc.). The Civil Rights Act also illegalizes any form of retaliatory act by the employer on employees who file employment discrimination complaints or who provide evidences on discriminatory practices during investigations and/or lawsuits.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 was passed into law to forbid discrimination against individuals aged 40 years or older. ADEA also prohibits any form of discrimination in hiring, layoff or termination of employment, wages and promotion due to the specified age, as well as statement of age limit and preference in job advertisement and notices.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was approved in 1990. This law was intended to provide protection to people from being discriminated due to their disability, despite their capability to perform the required work as good as anyone else.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which was approved on November 21, 2009. This law was intended to protect individuals from discrimination due to issues of genetic information. It also strictly prohibited spread of information about a person’s family’s genetic tests, medical condition or issues of medical disorder.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was meant to protect women who were pregnant or likely to become pregnant soon. The law prohibited firing, not hiring, etc., of affected women.

Despite all these anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, Melton & Kumler, LLP, in its website, admits the fact that so many employers still continue to take advantage and mistreat employees in a great number of ways, such as refusal to give just wages or pay overtime work, creation of a hostile working environment to force an employee to resign and other various forms of discrimination.

Employees who feel that they are being discriminated by their employers and/or co-workers have the right to file a complaint against their perpetrators. Filing a complaint, though, is subjected to a statute of limitation. The case will also have to be forwarded to EEOC first. Thus, hiring a good lawyer who is determined to fight for your rights and who will assist you in filing the right complaint and within the specified time limit would be a really good decision.

Discrimination should not be tolerated. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, make sure to contact a sexual harassment lawyer today.