Most attorneys representing clients in a truck crash and injury case hire an expert in accident reconstruction. However, understanding the root cause of a truck crash requires more than understanding speed of travel, weather conditions, traffic conditions and driver or roadway conditions. While understanding these elements are essential to determine fault, there are several internal documents that must be examined to determine whether the organization consciously placed the lives of their employees and the public at risk. Examination of documents such as training programs, fleet maintenance records and financial records also help to determine whether a company puts profits ahead of safety.
It is the author’s opinion that many crashes result when companies fail to balance risk with profit. Many companies are placing profit ahead of adequate risk management processes which include: an effective hiring process, adequate training programs and proper fleet maintenance.
Most companies have some sort of training and other safety programs in place that when utilized, serve them well. However, senior managers can become short sighted when achieving financial objectives and it is this short sightedness which leads to reduction in training, fleet maintenance and shortcuts in the hiring process, all of which create huge risk exposure for the organization and general public.
Training programs which are essential in the prevention of crashes are often circumvented when hiring becomes difficult due to low unemployment or when absorbing large pieces of new business create new driving positions that must be filled immediately. Regardless of the reason, a driver should not be placed behind the wheel of a truck prior to successfully completing a training program conducted by a certified instructor. Meeting customer or organizational demands are not acceptable reasons to place the public and the driver at substantial risk.
Fleet maintenance may be neglected or extended in order to reduce expense. New trucks destined to replace worn out trucks are placed on hold while worn out truck are held together with a “bandage approach”. Profits from these actions do not produce long-term success but some executives are willing to gamble, hoping for the best.
Truck accidents can be reduced by hiring qualified drivers. Drivers must meet basic requirements and pass a thorough background investigation consisting of employment verification, a Motor Vehicle Check, DOT physical and drug testing. Enhancing the hiring process is accomplished by training interviewers in the art of interviewing.
It may be difficult for some readers to believe that a manager working at a large well established company would place an untrained or unqualified employee behind the wheel of what could easily become a huge weapon or killing machine, but it happens.
Disclaimer: This article is written for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be used as a primary source for making security or safety decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jim McGuffey, M.A., CPP, PSP, PCI Owner of A.C.E. Security Consultants has 35 years of security management experience and 26 years of transportation management experience. Prior to becoming a security consultant Jim held senior positions of Area General Manager, District Manager and Regional Vice President. During his career Jim had responsibility for numerous high risk facilities, a large fleet of trucks and several thousand employees. Jim was awarded numerous national awards for producing leading results in safety, security, customer service, increasing sales and profit which are attested to by references from peers and supervisors. Please contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can improve safety and security at your business with a security risk analysis.