One fatal trucking accident which may probably be considered as among the worst that have occurred in the US was the one that took place on Interstate 80 on the morning of August 1, 2006. A minivan, which had four occupants in it (a woman, her mother, and her two sons – one 15 months old while the other was 3 years old) was caught in traffic congestion and slowed down behind a flat-bed truck. Approaching behind the van was a three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer, which was said to have failed to slow down in time. The truck rear-ended the van, crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it and the semi-trailer to be engulfed by a horrific fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not the occupants of the minivan.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. While this number of fatalities caused by trucks is only a tenth of the number of deaths resulting from car accidents, truck accidents remain to be more tragic due to their much more destructive results.

Despite the threats presented by trucks (because of the severity of the damages that these can cause in the event of an accident), there is no way that these huge vehicles will be removed from US roads and highways due to their major contribution to the country’s economy. Therefore, in order to allay the fear of so many other motorists from sharing the road with these vehicles, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers are allowed to operate them. Laws have also been passed, all of which are aimed at ensuring the safety operation of trucks; laws like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower level of blood alcohol concentration (0.04%), strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road.

Upon digging deeper into the accident mentioned above, however, a private investigator hired by the lawyer of the victim’s family found out that driver of the semi-truck had 3 past cases of rear-end accidents, 7 warnings from his safety manager, and drove at an unsafe speed prior to the accident: the warnings and the past cases of rear-end accidents, according to traffic authorities, should have been seen by the driver’s employer as a red flag for unsafe driving, more than enough reason to keep the driver off the road.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, hiring a driver with a bad driving record (that is, with a history of accidents or other moving violations) is a grave act of negligent hiring – a major offense committed by employers who only intend to increase their own profit. This is one example of careless employer act to which any employer can be held totally responsible and for which he/she can be required to answer in court.