Truck accidents cause around 130,000 injuries every year. These accidents also contribute to around 4,000 deaths. Because of the catastrophic nature of truck accidents, those injured or killed are often drivers or passengers in smaller vehicles, or pedestrians.
There are many things that can cause a truck accident, but driver error is the largest contributor. Behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, and driving while fatigued are all major causes of truck accidents. This leads us to question whether truck drivers are often fired after being involved in accidents.
Do Truck Drivers Get Fired for Accidents?
The simple answer to this question is “yes”, but “sometimes” is more appropriate. Yes, truck drivers can be fired after even one accident. But that doesn’t always happen. There are several things that trucking companies must consider when determining whether to fire a truck driver after an accident:
Who Was At Fault?
If the truck driver is at fault, or mostly at fault, for an accident, they may be fired by the motor carrier or trucking company. However, if there was another driver or other factor that was the primary cause of the accident, the employer may be more likely to defend the truck driver.
Is the Truck Driver an Employee or Contractor?
Only an employee can be fired. Therefore, a truck driver would have to be an employee of a motor carrier or trucking company in order to be fired. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, then they cannot be “fired” but will be subject to any terms of a contract or IC agreement.
The Circumstances of the Accident
Before firing a truck driver, the motor carrier will carefully review the circumstances of the accident. Was the truck driver on duty? Was he or she intoxicated? Was another driver breaking the law? Was the truck properly maintained and free from defects?
These are all considerations that can help a motor carrier determine what actions are appropriate after an accident.
The Truck Driver’s Driving History
Everyone makes mistakes, and motor carriers are often compassionate to an honest mistake or poor judgment. However, if the truck driver has a track record for being involved in accidents, getting tickets, or driving under the influence, the motor carrier is a lot more likely to fire them if they are involved in a serious accident.
Circumstances that Almost Always Lead to Truck Driver Firing
As you may have noticed, there are some truck driver behaviors that are simply too dangerous to ignore. Some of the circumstances that almost always result in the truck driver being fired include:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Violence, such as road rage
- Not complying with company protocols
- Not complying with state and federal trucking regulations
- Causing preventable accidents
- Damage to client or company property
In sum, motor carriers and trucking companies are more likely to fire a truck driver who is blatantly reckless, has a history of bad driving, or who causes an accident that results in injuries, property damage, and damages the company’s reputation.
Wrapping it All Up
Do truck drivers get fired after accidents? Yes, they do. But as you can see, there are a variety of factors that go into making that decision. Sometimes a truck driver is generally a good driver but makes a mistake. As drivers, we all make mistakes. All we can do is our best to drive safely and obey the law in our efforts to protect ourselves and others.
At The Embry Law Firm, we can fight to ensure you receive maximum compensation for any truck accidents. Contact us for a free consultation at 678-780-4353.