A truck driver’s viewpoint
Sometimes I get comments from truck drivers who say the items I post are too one-sided. Sorry about that. I certainly recognize that a majority of truck drivers are hard-working, reasonably safety conscious folks, and not all truck wrecks are the fault of the truckers. That doesn’t meen I accept at face value the trucking industry propoganda that blames 80% of truck wrecks on other motorists, however.
Recently I met a truck driver at a roadside diner away from Atlanta to find out what he could tell me related to one of my cases. We had a good visit.
Regarding problems caused by other motorists on the highway, he talked about seeing drivers who have a newspaper propped on the steering wheel, while eating and talking on their cell phones and whipping around in front of his truck. Certainly we all should use common sense, pay attention, avoid such distractions, and drive defensively.
As for the new hours of service rules, he lamented the inflexibility of a system that penalizes the driver who recognizes the need to pull over for a “power nap” in the middle of his authorized hours. He has a point.
He told of times when he was forced to violate hours of service rules, and perhaps to falsify logs, due to the demands of employers and shippers. He told the story of a shipper who did not release a load to him until about seven hours past the scheduled pickup time, but insisted that it had to be at the destination by a deadline with which it was impossible to comply without grossly violating several Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. That made me start thinking about the potential responsibility of shippers and brokers under 49 CFR 390.13, which provides that “No person shall aid, abet, encourage, or require a motor carrier or its employees to violate the rules of this chapter.” It doesn’t say “no motor carrier,” but “no person.”
Finally, on the way out of the cafe, I noted that this good guy who drives trucks for a living has a rebuilt Volvo as his personal vehicle. He knows, as I know, that it’s really hard to get killed in a Volvo.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).