The Most Dangerous Trucking Companies in Georgia and Throughout the U.S.
Experienced representation for truck accident victims in Savannah and Atlanta
Collisions between cars and commercial trucks can be devastating. Victims of these accidents are typically in the passenger vehicle because of its smaller size. Cars are no match for the hulking mass of an 18-wheeler, and driver and passenger injuries can be catastrophic. With the current commercial truck driver shortage in the United States, some unscrupulous trucking companies are cutting corners, hiring unqualified drivers and engaging in unsafe practices.
All of these factors can contribute to safety issues that, in turn, cause truck accidents. Whether it’s an untrained driver or an improperly maintained vehicle, everyone on the road is at risk when a trucking company doesn’t follow the rules. Truck crashes caused by dangerous practices are never acceptable, and, in fact, these companies could be found liable if you or someone you love is injured or worse. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable when their actions, or their negligence, cause you harm.
Which trucking companies are the worst?
Trucking company safety can be determined by examining accident and injury statistics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System, which offers an online snapshot of a trucking company’s safety record.
We used SAFER to research some of the biggest trucking companies in the United States and around Georgia. The statistics here represent data from the past two years. If you’ve been injured in a crash with a truck from any of these companies, talk to one of Harris Lowry Manton LLP’s truck accident attorneys today.
- Averitt Express: Based in Tennessee, Averitt had 422 crashes, with 12 fatalities. Out of 2,422 inspections, 359 resulted in out of service* violations.
- FedEx Express: This Tennessee-based arm of FedEx had 406 crashes, 12 fatalities. Out of 1,871 inspections, 108 resulted in out of service violations.
- FedEx Freight: Headquartered in Arkansas, FedEx’s freight arm had 901 crashes, with 25 fatalities. Out of 5,349 vehicle inspections, 631 resulted in out of service violations.
- Old Dominion Freight Line: Headquartered in North Carolina, Old Dominion has had 674 crashes, with 21 fatalities, over the past two years. Out of 3,081 vehicles, 263 resulted in out of service violations.
- UPS: Headquartered here in Georgia, UPS had 2,106 crashes, with 56 fatalities. Out of 7,272 inspections, 602 resulted in out of service violations.
- USA Truck: USA Truck’s HQ is in Arkansas. They had 227 crashes, with three fatalities. Out of 1,606 inspections, 308 resulted in out of service violations.
- US Xpress: Based in Tennessee, this trucking company has had 810 crashes, with 25 fatalities. Out of 6,154 vehicle inspections, 905 resulted in out of service violations.
* Out-of-service means any commercial motor vehicle whose mechanical condition or loading would cause a risk of an accident or breakdown. No motor carrier is allowed to operate, and no inspector is allowed to release the truck/trailer, until the required repairs have adequately been completed to the extent the violation no longer exists.
When trucking companies look the other way
Companies with high safety and employee ratings take these inspections and accident reports very seriously. They actively work to keep the number of incidents down and implement strategies to keep their drivers and vehicles safer on the road.
However, less principled companies will continue to violate the rules, putting you and your loved ones in danger. For example, when a trucking company learns of driver violations, they are expected to act, like suspending or terminating the driver, depending on the violation. These actions are meant to prevent future violations and to enhance safety. However, they can cause the company to lose money—when drivers, trucks, and freight are kept off the road, profits go down. Some trucking companies and drivers are actually willing to risk lives by ignoring safety regulations and violations, putting unsafe drivers and trucks right back out on the road.
The most common causes of violations include:
- Hours of service. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) instituted hours of service limits to prevent fatigued driving. Many drivers violate these limits in order to make deliveries faster. Some trucking companies even incentivize drivers to make faster deliveries, which encourages violating hours of service limits.
- Impaired driving. Trucking companies must conduct random drug and alcohol tests to ensure their drivers aren’t operating their 18-wheelers while under the influence. Some companies don’t conduct this testing because they don’t want to take any drivers off the road.
- Failure to inspect vehicles. Before starting each leg of a trip, drivers must conduct inspections of their vehicle. When drivers skip this step, their rig is at risk for malfunctions or collisions. Some companies won’t enforce this regulation, as they don’t want to take trucks off the road or slow down a driver’s delivery schedule.
Sometimes, smaller trucking companies continually rack up safety violations or financial penalties and can no longer afford to keep paying fines. Some companies with checkered safety records, fortunately, go out of business. However, others become even more dangerous by becoming what the industry calls “chameleon carriers.” Chameleons may be the most hazardous trucking companies out there, because it is difficult to find a record of their vehicle and worker safety histories. Here’s why.
Chameleon carriers are trucking companies with such terrible safety records that they actually evade inspectors—and sometimes insurance companies—by changing their names and DOT numbers. Eighteen-wheelers have individual DOT numbers, so the government can monitor their inspections and safety records and can match them to their companies. However, if their scores dip or safety statistics plummet, some companies will obtain new DOT numbers to create the illusion of a “clean slate.”
This doesn’t mean these companies are making any necessary repairs, or taking dangerous drivers off the road. In fact, it makes the highways more hazardous. Recently, the FMCSA shut down an Acworth, Georgia-based company called Daya Trucking after the FMCSA found it to be an “imminent hazard to public safety.” It appears that Daya may have been a chameleon, or reincarnation of Ekam Truck Line, created to evade a Consent Order to upgrade its safety rating from Unsatisfactory to Conditional.
After an investigation, the FMCSA jointly evaluated Daya and Ekam. Their findings included safety violations like improper monitoring of hours of service, failing to test for controlled substances before dispatching drivers, failing to ensure drivers had the proper qualifications and failing to regularly inspect the vehicles.
If you are injured in a truck accident with what appears to a chameleon carrier, the legal team at Harris Lowry Manton LLP will launch a full investigation and will not stop until they find the entity responsible for your injuries.
Call our Georgia truck accident attorneys for aggressive representation
When trucking companies use dangerous business practices, it puts everyone at risk. Unaddressed safety violations or improperly vetted drivers can cause catastrophic accidents. When a collision and your resulting injuries were caused by something completely preventable, it’s crucial to ensure that it never happens again.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we hold negligent parties responsible for your injuries. You deserve compensation for your injuries—let us help. Please call 404-961-7650 in Atlanta or 912-651-9967 in Savannah, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.