Faulty brakes, overloaded cargo, under inflated tires and sleep-deprived drivers are truck accidents waiting to happen.
These are the very safety issues targeted by rigorous Texas Department of Public Safety inspections. DPS officers inspect trucks and drivers and issue decals to indicate the fleet is safe and are required to take unsafe tractor-trailers out of service.
Or at least that’s what usually happens.
But recently the owner of a Dallas trucking company paid off a dishonest DPS inspector in exchange for the required safety decals.
The company claims to be “frequently recognized for its integrity and reliability” and that “safety is our biggest concern.” But instead of fixing any safety violations, the owner forked over $20,000 in bribes to keep his dangerous fleet of tractor-trailers on the road. Let’s hope that Cruz and Sons Transportation is the only truck company which has done this.
Texans should be angry about this bribery. It’s bad enough that one of our public officials is being paid off, but worse that he potentially put our lives at risk. These inspections are crucial to keep Texas roads safe.
My practice as a personal injury lawyer concentrates exclusively on automobile and truck crashes. I have seen first-hand the devastation caused by wrecks involving 18-wheelers. And unfortunately, these sometimes fatal collisions have increased over the past decade.
The latest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics show that 4,311 fatal truck accidents occurred in 2015. This is an eight percent increase from the prior year and an alarming 26 percent increase from 2009. The number of 18-wheeler accident injuries skyrocketed by 62 percent during the same time period.
New safety innovations like automatic braking, radar and camera systems should greatly improve the vehicle’s safety. Stricter regulations should also drastically reduce truck accidents. So why is the opposite happening?
Federal and Texas laws require inspections of commercial vehicles and drivers. In theory these inspections should catch problems before they result in an accident.
For example, the pre-trip inspection should verify that the truck and tractor and all its components are in good working order, including lights, wheels, coupling devices, load tie downs, frames and emergency equipment. The driver’s logs may also be inspected for hours of service and random drug tests should stop impaired truck drivers.
My law firm thoroughly investigates every case and has found these factors caused the crash. Our expert is inspecting our client’s car that was hit by a tractor-trailer tomorrow. Of course our role doesn’t start after the wreck has happened. We have to identify the negligent conduct that contributed to the crash and sometimes even show how the truck accident could have been prevented.
This latest scandal highlights how important a post-accident investigation is. If you have been injured in a 18-wheeler crash, you should not rely upon the supposedly glowing record of the trucking company and its driver, but instead hire a personal injury attorney to immediately conduct an independent investigation.
For example, Cruz and Sons was rated “satisfactory” by the USDOT. We now know the company in fact had serious violations for which they paid an inspector to ignore.
If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer collision and need legal assistance, please call or email us and we will meet in a free no obligation consultation.