Warning! Safety Violations Ahead: Motor Carrier Companies Keep Unsafe Trucks on U.S. Roads

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Part VI

Florida truck driver Vivian Bernard complained to his bosses at Benton’s Express that his truck was being routinely overloaded for his weekly trips between Ocala and Gainesville. The illegally added weight put undue stress on the tires but also allowed Benton’s to carry more freight for lower costs. Bernard’s bosses ignored his complaints. In 2004, Bernard suffered a tire blowout, and was lucky to avoid a deadly accident. A subsequent Ocala Star-Banner investigation found that Benton’s routinely faked paperwork to try and get away with illegally overloaded trucks. In fact, Benton’s was not alone. Several other companies in the same region routinely overloaded trucks in an attempt to cut costs.

Truck accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but many are preventable, and often are a direct result of trucking companies violating safety standards to cut corners and maximize profits. The average profit margin for trucking companies is very low, and nine out of ten start-up companies go out of business in a little over one year.

These violation include such practices as overloading trucks, allowing unqualified or untrained drivers on the road, failing to maintain tires and brakes, and compensations systems that encourage truck drivers to exceed speed limits and maximum driving hours.


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