Have you ever been driving and saw a tractor-trailer truck pulled over and wonder why the police selected that particular truck to pull over out of the hundreds out on the road? Well, according to the Illinois State Police, they are alerted to trucking companies with questionable driving records by looking at the online postings of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That is the agency tasked with keeping tabs on the safety records of more than 500,000 over-the-road trucking companies throughout the country.
The FMCSA website uses five criteria to evaluate trucking companies: unsafe driving, hours of service, driver fitness and vehicle maintenance. A review of that website, in conjunction with another safety watch list run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, identified 184 Illinois commercial trucking companies with poor safety records and 26 with bad marks in four out of the five critical categories.
Of chief concern is the issue of driver fatigue. According to one expert, over half of the drivers on the roadways are paid by the mile rather than by the hour. That creates the incentive for drivers to falsify paper records and lie about hour many mandatory rest breaks they have taken while they are out on the road.
Commercial tractor-trailers are massive machines that can do a lot of damage. If not properly controlled, people can die or get seriously injured in truck accidents. One way to combat the hazards of these machines is to give more funding to understaffed agencies tasked with tracking down and checking the more frequent rule-violating carrier companies. Another method would be to simply move away from the paper record logging system, which is the current standard method for truckers to track their driving times, to an online system, which would be much harder to falsify.
If you or someone you love, have been injured by a tractor-trailer company with a spotty record, it may be in your best interest to look into legal ways to recover your losses.
Source: CBC 2 Chicago, "2 Investigators: Some Trucking Firms On Federal Watch List For Safety Violations" Pam Zekman, May. 08, 2014