Fatal Truck Wreck Highlights Negligent Retention of Poor Drivers
Early last month, a truck collided with a bridge in Sealy, Texas, causing debris to fall on another car, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring her mother. Authorities believe the arm of the waste carrying truck that would lift trash dumpsters was raised. This was what hit the bridge, tearing off part of the concrete, which landed on the front of the car.
"The force that the beam was hit was catastrophic," Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble stated, according to KTRK Houston. "Walking around on the upper level of bridge, the asphalt and next section of beam has been also moved and that bridge is what I call rotten from the inside out now."
The police are investigating the trucking accident as a homicide. The bridge has been closed and all traffic for the U.S. 90 overpass and Texas 36 have been rerouted.
More Details on the Accident
The truck that caused the deadly accident was owned by Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) and was being driven time by a 72-year-old man. The driver did not heed the warning system that alerted trucks of the clearance height of the bridge. According to a video of the accident from a motorist behind the truck, the TDS driver hit the warning sign and continued driving.
A local news agency investigated and found the company had a history of violations with the U.S. Department of Transportation and of accidents. The company was currently up-to-date on inspections, but previous inspections found TDS drivers talking on their cell phones, speeding, and not using their seat-belts. TDS trucks have been involved in 15 accidents since mid-2014. According to information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), two of the accidents were fatal and three caused injuries. In July of last year, a woman was struck by a TDS truck and killed, but the driver was not charged. In May of this year, a TDS truck was in an accident that injured three people, and the TDS driver was ticketed by police.
Negligent Hiring and Retention
If your loved one was hurt or killed in a trucking accident, you may be able to hold the business liable for negligently hiring or retaining a poor driver. Trucking companies are required to perform their due diligence when it comes to hiring drivers, and this high standard of conduct continues throughout every driver’s employment. They must follow all FMCSA regulations related to alcohol and drug testing and record-keeping.
A driver must have the correct commercial driver’s license, endorsements, and training before they can get behind the wheel of a truck. Even if they have the basic criteria, the trucking company must pay attention to the trucker’s driving record, including any state or federal violations, tickets, or complaints by other drivers. If a trucker has a bad driving record and puts the public in danger, the company may be held responsible if they continue to let that driver behind the wheel.
Under Texas law, negligent hiring or retention may occur when an employer knows or should know that an employee is unfit, incompetent, or dangerous and the employer fails to take any reasonable action to prevent the employer from hurting others.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm today at (888) 392-0039 for a free consultation. The passionate New Braunfels personal injury attorneys at our law office can help you understand your rights, investigate your accident, and bring a suit against the right defendants if you choose to head to court. The sooner you contact an attorney about your situation the better. You need to be able to look into your accident before the evidence, such as the truck, is no longer available.