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What Victims of Crashes Involving Dart Transit Company Should Know

After being injured in a collision involving a Dart Transit Company tractor-trailer, you may understandably hope for a speedy resolution, with the company compensating you fairly for your losses so that you can move on with your life. However, because our legal system requires victims to prove that the harms they suffered were caused by a defendant's carelessness, being made whole by a trucking company can be a difficult task, and nearly always requires legal action.

There are a number of causes that can potentially contribute to any commercial vehicle crash, including driver inexperience. In the case of Dart Transit Company, its rapid increase in employees, during a period when seasoned drivers are in short supply, may suggest an increased risk of truckers driving for the company with limited experience behind the wheel. Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains why this matters for victims.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Dart Transit Company?
  • How many crashes involving death or injury has the company been involved in?
  • How could the company's recent growth in employees affect litigation against them?

Crash statistics courtesy the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is Dart Transit Company?

Dart Transit Company is the primary operating branch of its corporate parent Dart Holding Company, which is based in Eagan, MN and is the 68th-largest commercial transportation provider in the U.S. With roughly 2,000 trucks and around 2,500 employees, the parent company generated just over $450 million in 2017.

The company's vehicles, which primarily transport building materials, paper products, and shipping containers, traveled more than 200 million miles in 2017, further than a round trip to the Sun and back. Over the last two years, federal government data indicates they've been involved in 186 crashes, of which 64 resulted in injuries and 6 have led to fatalities.

We should pause here to note that these numbers don't allow us to determine fault for any of these crashes: if a Dart Transit vehicle was involved in the wreck, it's listed in the numbers. However, given the sheer number of collisions, it's highly likely that a Dart driver's negligence caused at least some percentage of the total.

How Driver Inexperience Affects Your Case Against Dart Transit

Like any other industry, commercial transportation has its share of problems, with one of the more significant being a pronounced shortage of drivers. Between retirements of the many truckers in their 50s or 60s and a lack of new entrants to the profession, a leading trade organization for the industry projects a shortage of 174,000 drivers within the next 7 years.

This scarcity has a host of potential causes, from electronic logging mandates and in-cab monitoring devices, which many drivers view as so intrusive that staying in the job no longer seems appealing, to the inherent drawbacks of trucking, like long hours away from home and extended waits to pick up and deliver freight. Whatever the causes, the situation seems likely to persist, at least in the near term.

A Department of Transportation study suggests that drivers with five years or less of experience are 41% more likely to be the direct cause of a crash.

When trucking companies face an imbalance between the freight they need to move to stay profitable and the number of qualified drivers available, they're left with a few unappealing options. The most obvious is to raise driver compensation so as to attract workers with more experience, but obviously this may cut into the company's revenues more than management is comfortable with. The other option is to quietly lower hiring standards, so that drivers who would previously have been rejected, based on either lack of experience or past misconduct, are allowed behind the wheel.

While I don't have any inside information that would allow me to know for sure, the fact that Dart Transit's employee numbers have increased from 1,300 to 2,500 over the past year, when combined with the marked shortage of veteran truckers in today's job market, does at least raise the possibility that they may be taking on less experienced drivers. To the extent that's actually the case, it may be exposing other motorists to an increased risk of collisions caused by that inexperience.

I probably don't need to explain the risks of hiring drivers with a history of previous crashes, especially when alcohol or drugs were involved, but lack of experience can also be a significant risk factor. In fact, a Department of Transportation study suggests that drivers with five years or less of experience are 41% more likely to be the direct cause of a crash. This is pretty logical: as with any other activity, it takes time for new commercial drivers to gain reliable proficiency behind the wheel.

I don't mean to pick on drivers trying to get their start in a new profession, as obviously their being new to the profession doesn't preclude their being careful enough on the road to avoid crashes. But the inherent risk they create as a group, especially when a company hires them in large numbers, can't be ignored. Many trucking companies recognize this, which may be why they put in place minimum experience requirements of a year or more for signing new drivers, in contrast to Dart's six months.

While ideally obtaining a commercial driver's license would be sufficient to indicate a driver was fully qualified, there have been enough incidents involving CDL fraud across the country to cast some doubt on that idea. In one case in California, CDLs were issued to "drivers" (undercover federal agents) who never passed the required exam, and in some cases never even took it, after money changed hands between employees of phony truck driving schools and DMV workers.

All this having been said, it doesn't matter whether a company hired a driver whose lack of experience or past misconduct made them a danger to the public unless you're able the documents to prove it. This evidence, like personnel and driver qualification records, is the legal property of the trucking company. That means they don't have to hand it over to you, and won't, unless they're compelled to do so by a legal subpoena.

Grossman Law Offices Knows How to Hold Trucking Companies Accountable

The potential contributions of a driver's inexperience are just a few of the many complications that can enter into litigation after a semi-truck crash. Considering everything that you're already going through as a result of your injuries, you shouldn't have to take on the burden of dealing with the legal challenges as well.

Fortunately, there's a way to avoid having to take on that burden or be taken advantage of by a company seeking to avoid responsibility for their negligence. Grossman Law Offices has almost thirty years of experience taking on all sizes of trucking company in cases involving a variety of fact patterns. Our investigators and accident reconstructionists know exactly what evidence to look for, while our veteran litigators can incorporate that evidence into an account of the crash able to effectively convince a jury.

If you've suffered injuries or lost a family member in a collision involving a Dart Transit Company vehicle, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your questions and concerns.

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