Earlier this week, two trucking companies that employed a negligent driver reached a $9.5 million settlement in Victoria district court. The settlement is one that attorneys and advocates hope sends a message to other trucking companies and the Department of Public Safety – strict regulations for truck drivers need to be enforced.
In March of 2012, a 44-year-old Victoria man suffered serious back and head injuries after he was rear-ended by a commercial truck at an intersection near U.S. 59. The driver of the truck was later found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .071 percent and .065 percent three hours after the crash. Although the legal BAC limit for drivers in Texas is .08 percent, drivers of commercial vehicles can face citations and license penalties when their BAC is .04 percent or more.
As equally – if not more – concerning than the fact that the truck driver had alcohol in his system was that he was also severely overworked. In the eight days leading up to the accident, the driver had worked a total of 97.5 hours. Federal Hours-of-Service rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandate a maximum of 70 hours for eight-day periods.
Typically, drivers and companies are required to keep accurate logs that detail the hours a truck driver spends on duty and behind the wheel. Since this particular company operated within 100 miles, they were not required to keep a log book. Still, attorneys argued, the Department of Transportation should have audited and investigated the situation and the driver's qualifications, especially since he had been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) five times.
The truck accident settlement will provide the injured victim with the financial compensation needed to pay for his medical care. Another family injured in the rear-end collision will also receive compensation from the settlement. While justice and compensation has been obtained for these victims, one can only hope that the case leads to improvements in the trucking and public safety industries.
Trucking companies can be held liable for the damages their drivers cause. They can also be held responsible for negligent hiring and for failing to abide by trucking and safety regulations. At the Daspit Law Firm, Houston truck accident lawyer John Daspit has the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate trucking accidents so as to determine where fault and liability rest. He then pursues a full recovery of damages from trucking companies and their insurance providers.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Houston, fill out a free case evaluation form or call (713) 364-0915 to speak with a Houston personal injury attorney.