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?
- What are common trucking company safety violations?
- What are chameleon carriers?
- Do you have a truck accident attorney near me?
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 386 crashes, with 10 fatalities. Out of 2,021 inspections, 308 resulted in out of service* violations.
- FedEx Express: This Tennessee-based arm of FedEx had 377 crashes, 9 fatalities. Out of 1,630 inspections, 99 resulted in out of service violations.
- FedEx Freight: Headquartered in Arkansas, FedEx’s freight arm had 838 crashes, with 26 fatalities. Out of 5,000 vehicle inspections, 662 resulted in out of service violations.
- Old Dominion Freight Line: Headquartered in North Carolina, Old Dominion has had 719 crashes, with 30 fatalities, over the past two years. Out of 3,565 vehicles, 310 resulted in out of service violations.
- UPS: Headquartered here in Georgia, UPS had 2,860 crashes, with 72 fatalities. Out of 11,980 inspections, 1,293 resulted in out of service violations.
- US Xpress: Based in Tennessee, this trucking company has had 597 crashes, with 20 fatalities. Out of 5,794 vehicle inspections, 781 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.
What are common trucking company safety violations?
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, in order to protect profits.
The most common causes of safety 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.
What are chameleon carriers?
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 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.
FreightWaves points out that if only one percent of the truck carriers granted authority to operate in 2021 have “chameleon characteristics,” that puts up to 1,100 unsafe trucking companies on our nation’s roads. The publication also discusses another notorious Georgia-based chameleon carrier case:
Other well-publicized cases of chameleon carriers include Lewis Trucking in Georgia, which the FMCSA placed under an order to cease all operations in 2008 for numerous violations after one of its trucks struck a charter van on an Alabama highway killing seven people.
Devasko Lewis, the owner of Lewis Trucking, used an accomplice’s identity in an attempt to get around the FMCSA ruling and start new trucking companies after the Alabama accident. Lewis was later convicted of murder when he hired a hit man to get rid of a witness testifying against him in his FMCSA fraud case.
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.
Do you have a truck accident attorney near me?
Harris Lowry Manton LLP Atlanta office is located at 1418 Dresden Drive, in Brookhaven, Georgia. You’ll find plenty of local parking just a short walk away.
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 our offices in Atlanta or Savannah, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.