Jarrett & Price LLCIf you or a loved one has been injured by a commercialvehicle in Georgia, one of the first things you and your attorney will want to know as much information as possible about the at-fault driver and the trucking company for which the driver worked. Thankfully, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA) has compiled these records online and devised a safety rating for mostcommercial vehicles that is easily searchable on its website.
Enter the name of trucking company’s name on the page known as the Safety Measurement System,and you receive instant information about that trucking company’s safetyrating, crashes and violation records. For instance, a random search for “WilsonTrucking Corp.” shows that the corporation is based in Fishersville, Virginia,has a “Satisfactory” safety rating, and its fleet includes 790 vehicles and 825drivers.
Additional information on the site shows that thecorporation has had 553 total inspections, of which 351 revealed no violations.There have been 58 crashes reported that involved the corporation’s vehicles inthe past 24 months. An additional search into unsafe driving information forthe corporation shows that the company has had no serious violations in itshistory, and is in the top 10 percentile for safety performance. An even deeperbreakdown shows how many times the corporation has been cited for specificviolations, such as using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating acommercial motor vehicle. That particular violation has been cited 15 times.There have been no controlled substance or alcohol violations involving WilsonTrucking Corp. drivers in the past 24 months.
Within seconds this government website offers a snapshot ofthe company involved in the crash. While Wilson Trucking Corp appears to havean exemplary record, other trucking companies do not, which is immediatelyapparent by their ranking. The site indicates where a company has so manyviolations that penalties and interventions have been ordered by theFMCSA. This snapshot is an importantindicator that the trucking company involved in a crash may have issues thatwill be extremely relevant in any litigation involving a crash.
Whenever a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident,the company may be exposed to potential liability. There are several theoriesof liability including negligent hiring and retention of drivers, negligentmaintenance of vehicles, and negligent supervision of drivers and employees.The FMCSA and the states have numerous regulations that apply to mostcommercial vehicles. If a company involved in the accident did not subject itsdrivers and employees to those standards, it is possible to show that thecompany, as well as the at-fault driver, was negligent in the accident. If acompany has a history of not meeting these standards, those facts may also openthe door to possible punitive damages at trial.
For instance, lets say a crash involves a commercial vehicledriver who fell asleep at the wheel and caused an accident. Its obvious thedriver was negligent in falling asleep. It may also be shown that the driverviolated state or federal laws that restrict the maximum amount of time that adriver may be behind the wheel for a continuous period of time. If open recordsand information gathered during the course of litigation shows the company hada long history of its drivers violating this regulation, there is an additionalargument that the company itself was negligent in training its drivers andenforcing this regulation.
Therefore a thorough knowledge of the company’s safetyrecord is vital in any personal injury case involving a trucking company orcommercial vehicle. The FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System website offers a convenientsnapshot of each company’s safety history. More detailed information will begained by attorneys through specific open records requests and discoverygathered during the litigation.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accidentinvolving a commercial motor vehicle, you may be entitled to monetary damages. The attorneys at Jarrett & Price will thoroughly investigate your case to determine whether the other party is negligent, and where and how violations to federal and state regulations may have occurred. Contact us for a free consultation at one of our Georgia offices in Savannah, Clarkesville or Cleveland. There are no up-front costs,and our firm is only paid if your claim is successful.