Can a Truck Driver Be Fired for an Accident in Texas?
If you have been injured in a crash involving a negligent truck driver, you may be wondering what will happen next. Will the trucking company do the right thing? Will the truck driver be fired after the crash they caused? Or will they be allowed to continue driving a large truck and putting others at risk?
While truckers can be fired for a crash, that does not necessarily mean they will be fired. If the truck driver is able to retain their commercial driver’s license, it will ultimately be up to their employer what consequences they face.
Let’s look at the factors that may be considered when a truck driver is at risk of losing their job as well as some of the top examples in which truck drivers do get fired for accidents.
Was the Truck Driver At Fault for the Crash?
This will probably be the top question a company will ask when considering whether to fire or retain a trucker. If the truck driver was not responsible for the collision, their employer will likely defend them and keep them on.
However, if the truck is found to be mostly at fault, chances are the motor carrier that employs them will terminate their employment. If the trucking company chose to keep a driver on after they were found to be responsible for a crash, they could be exposing themselves to lawsuits later.
For example, if that same driver were to cause a second crash, a lawyer could argue that the company should have known the truck driver was prone to reckless and negligent actions behind the wheel. Therefore, the company acted negligently by allowing that trucker to continue driving for the motor carrier.
Was the Truck Driver an Employee or a Contractor?
Not every truck driver is an employee of the motor carrier they are driving for. Many truckers are independent contractors (IC) and therefore cannot be fired. Still, the motor carrier can terminate the contract with the IC and chose not to work with them in the future.
What Were the Circumstances of the Crash?
The details of how the crash occurred can also impact whether a truck driver is fired for a crash. Generally, the more reckless the truck driver’s behavior was, the more likely they are to be terminated.
If a crash was relatively minor and involved a rear-end crash on a section of road that was highly congested, a trucking company might be willing to keep the driver on if they have an otherwise clean record. However, if the crash was the result of driver distraction, impairment, or a violation of state or federal trucking guidelines, the company is probably going to fire the driver.
What Does the Trucker’s Driving and Employment History Look Like?
Good truck drivers are hard to come by. As such, how well a truck driver has performed in the past and how much trucking experience the driver has may factor in to whether or not they lose their job after a crash.
A truck driver with multiple accidents is more at risk of being fired with each subsequent collision. Similarly, a truck driver who has experienced their first crash may be fired if they have a short employment history.
Even a driver with a clean driving history may be fired for a crash if the employer determines they have underperformed in other areas of the job.
When Do Truck Drivers Get Fired for Crashes?
There are several instances in which a truck driver is sure to be fired for a crash. These include:
Speeding is the leading cause of truck accidents in Texas. It is also entirely preventable. Truck drivers who speed are a major liability for transportation companies. These drivers are at an increased risk of crashes and put their employers in legal jeopardy. Drivers with multiple speeding violations are also at risk of losing their commercial driver’s license.
Drunk Driving and Driving Under the Influence
Most transportation companies have zero-tolerance policies for drinking and driving and drug use. If a truck driver is found to be drunk or under the influence during a crash, it is almost a guarantee that their employer will be found liable for the crash as well.
Many motor carriers will fire a truck driver for impaired driving, regardless of whether a crash occurs. They will also not hire drivers who have past citations for impaired driving.
Road rage is always dangerous; however, the stakes become a bit higher if the aggressive driver is behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. Similar to drunk driving, companies that employ aggressive drivers are at a high risk of being held liable for a crash. As such, many motor carriers have a zero-tolerance policy for road rage.
Failing to Comply with Trucking Regulations
Truck drivers and their employees are subject to strict state and federal regulations that other non-commercial drivers are not. The purpose of these regulations is to promote safe driving and prevent wrecks. When a driver skirts these regulations, their employer can be held liable.
Failing to Comply with Company Protocols
As with most jobs, a truck driver who fails to comply with company protocols and procedures is subject to termination. If those failures result in a crash that injures others, the driver can certainly expect to be fired.
I Was Injured in a Trucking Accident. How Do I Ensure the Driver is Held Responsible?
Do you want to make sure a truck driver is held accountable for your crash? Do want to make sure others are exposed to the actions of a negligent truck driver? Call Thomas J. Henry Law.
Our experienced attorneys can investigate your crash. They will demonstrate where the truck driver failed to act in a reasonable and safe manner. We can also help determine if the trucking company that employs them contributed to unsafe driving practices, either consciously or through inaction.
Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Houston serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call now for your FREE Case Review with an experienced Texas trucking accident attorney.