What You Should Know After A Crash With A McLane Company Vehicle
Victims face a lot of obstacles when trying to hold a trucking company accountable after a crash. While some of them remain consistent regardless of the particular company involved, others can be tied to their specific policies or areas of specialization.
In the case of the McLane Company, public information about their trucking division suggests that their drivers may be more likely to be dangerously fatigued, increasing their risk of crashes caused by this risk factor. If lack of sleep does turn out to have caused a collision, it will require the help of a legal team with experience litigating truck accident cases to prove it. Acclaimed Dallas attorney Michael Grossman explains.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is the McLane Company?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- What does the company's prior behavior suggest about their risk of crashes related to lack of sleep?
What is the McLane Company?
Making its first deliveries in 1915, the McLane Company is now the eighth-largest private trucking company in the world by size of fleet, with 2017 revenues of almost $50 billion. The company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2003, and its fleet of around 4,000 tractors and drivers traveled almost 120 million miles in 2017.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 193 crashes, of which 69 have led to injuries and 2 have resulted in fatalities. While this data doesn't show who was at fault for any of these wrecks, the sheer numbers suggest that at least some portion of them can be attributed to a company driver's negligence.
While it's important to emphasize that commercial drivers bear some responsibility for their decision to drive recklessly, our firm has seen plenty of cases in which truckers were placed in inherently dangerous situations by official company policies. Sadly, the case of the McLane Company's trucking division, Transco, illustrates why the responsibility for crashes goes beyond the cab of the 18-wheeler involved.
Transco, The FMCSA, and Sleep-deprived Truck Drivers
If you've ever tried to perform difficult work the day after a sleepless night, you may appreciate why it can be so dangerous for drivers of commercial vehicles to operate without sufficient rest. In fact, data indicates that driver fatigue may be a contributing factor in as many as 40% of tractor-trailer crashes.
The federal government recognizes the significant dangers of commercial drivers operating their rigs while fatigued. This is why regulations from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limit the number of hours drivers are allowed to travel withing designated periods, and require them to take a 30 minute rest break every 8 hours.
Given the inherent dangers it creates, you may wonder why truck drivers would take the risk of driving without adequate sleep. The most obvious answer is that it allows them to make more money. Since most truckers are paid by the mile, the more miles they're able to travel in the same time period, the more they can take in.
However, truckers aren't always the only ones making dangerous decisions when it comes to fatigued driving. Just as truckers can make more money by driving instead of sleeping, trucking companies have a lot to gain if they can deliver more cargo in a shorter period of time. In too many cases, this means drivers who might be more comfortable driving within their legal hours of service limits are pressured into exceeding them, knowing their refusal to do so could mean a black mark on their service record or even termination.
This brings us to Transco, the subsidiary of the McLane Company responsible for their trucking operations. In late 2018, the company requested an exemption from the FMCSA's requirement that drivers receive a 30 minute break after eight hours of driving. The company based this request on its drivers off-loading freight at their delivery destinations, suggesting that having this 30 minutes devoted to offloading instead of doing no work was healthier.
The agency ultimately declined the company's request. It argued that, in addition to the safety benefits of the break, drivers for a company like Transco, who have to cope with the energy costs of both transporting and unloading freight, need it more than those driving for other companies, which typically don't have to unload their own cargo.
While it would be unwise to conclude too much from this request, it definitely creates the impression that the company cares more about increasing the amount of freight it can deliver in a given amount of time than it does about the safety of either its drivers or the traveling public.
Simply put, a company that attempts to make its workers unload freight instead of taking a rest break may well also be one that exerts those drivers to work beyond their hours-of-service limits. If they're doing so, it means more exhausted drivers behind the wheel of large and dangerous semi-trucks, with all the risks that entails.
Again, I don't have any inside information that would allow me to say whether or not Transco has an issue with exhausted drivers, or whether lack of sleep caused any of the crashes it's vehicles have been involved in. That would require a thorough independent investigation, which is why that's always our first step after taking on any tractor-trailer accident case.
By issuing a subpoena for the driver's logs, as well as any text messages or other communications that might show he was pressured to drive longer than HOS limits permit, we can obtain the evidence needed to prove that the company's negligence was a direct cause of your injuries.
Grossman Law Offices Has The Experience to Hold McLane Accountable
Proving that a driver's insufficient sleep led to a collision is just one of the hundreds of challenges posed by injury and wrongful death litigation involving commercial vehicles. Trying to take on all of those difficulties on their own could overwhelm anyone, especially someone already dealing with the medical, financial, and emotional struggles that often follow a tractor-trailer collision.
The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices understand how challenging it can be to hold large trucking companies accountable, because we've been doing just that with great success for almost 30 years. Our meticulous investigators can gather all of the evidence needed to prove your case, while our veteran litigators can incorporate it into a compelling narrative for a jury.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a McLane Company commercial vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call.
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