How many times have you been driving down the road and had a semi unexpectedly come into your lane of travel?
I suppose we all know to be on our toes when we’re passing trucks on the highways, but you may have wondered why this happens and also why it happens so frequently. In a word, many of these truck drivers are sleeping or almost asleep. The state of these drivers of 80,000 pounds of sudden death asleep at the wheel is due to several factors but all trickle down from one thing: greed.
A semi-tractor and trailer operates as an economic unit for the trucking industry. It only makes money when it is on the road delivering items across America. The secret to making money with a truck is to keep it rolling. This purpose is accomplished by giving a financial incentive to the drivers of semi-tractor trailers. The more miles these drivers drive, the more money they make. There is an incentive to drive as many hours as possible and as fast as possible to make the maximum income.
Most people know that there are hours of service regulations for operators of semis. These are frequently overlooked or falsified by the drivers and their companies. Breaking the hours of service regulations increases profits not only for the trucking companies, but also for their drivers.
A sleepy driver of a huge machine is a ticking time bomb on our highways and they are literally everywhere. The devastation caused by semi crashes is huge. How can this be stopped?
Lawsuits against trucking companies who incentivize their drivers to drive too long and too fast can act as a deterrent to this bad behavior. Frequently cases are brought for punitive damages against trucking companies for these illegal practices. If punitive damages are to be awarded, they are based on the net worth of the trucking companies being sued. Many of the larger companies are multimillion dollar operations so in order to punish them for their bad behavior, it is necessary to sting them with a large punitive damage verdict.
Lawsuits for compensatory and punitive damages against the trucking industry can help protect our families and our loved ones from people who just won’t follow the rules. In the case of trucks, they help to force compliance and keep roads safe.
At Searcy Denney we have the experience to know how to handle these very specialized types of cases. We are always happy to provide additional information or answer any questions about these types of cases.