As a trucking accident trial lawyer representing both occupants of passenger cars and truck drivers who are badly injured in trucking collisions, I have been thinking a lot lately about the implications of rising oil prices on the trucking industry in general, and trucking safety in particular.
If truckers are in financial distress, many will be even more tempted to cut corners on hours of service, maintenance, etc., with a foreseeable effects on safety.
The same economic distress will lead some to skip or delay payments on insurance premiums and cut out coverage above the minimum required. As long as there is an MCS-90 endorsement in place, we can recover damages up to the amount of the endorsement, typically one million dollars. However, if truckers can’t maintain insurance coverage, they can’t continue to legally operate.
One possible outcome is that the demise of small truckers may lead to trucking industry consolidation. Some larger carriers really do a better job in managing safety and reducing bad incidents. But it seems that some merely do a better job of cheating, making it harder to uncover unsafe practices.
The Shigley Law Firm, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia, focuses on trucking litigation. Ken Shigley is former chair fo the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute, a Certified Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. He was president of the State Bar of Georgia in 2011-12.