Deploying its trucks on the highways of Ohio and throughout the nation, one of the largest transportation and logistics companies will pay a family damages of more than $40M over a wrongful death. A federal jury found the company liable for a fatal crash involving one of its tractor-trailer drivers who was operating the cab while still in training. Although he graduated from a truck-driving course, he was still a student with only eight days of driving experience when he crashed.
According to Overdrive Magazine, the jury reached a verdict awarding the victim’s family damages of $30.5M over the wrongful death and an additional $10M as punitive damages. The tractor-trailer fatally struck a 2012 Honda Pilot after drifting across the lanes, crossing a concrete median and then striking the victim’s car head-on. Reportedly, a brief error occurred during the truck driver’s training session.
Negligence on the part of the company
According to the family’s complaint, the trucking company’s training program lacked a sufficient policy for safety. The victim’s family alleged that there was an inadequate concern for how new drivers may cause harm or damage while training to operate large and dangerous tractor-trailers.
The semi-truck operator-in-training reportedly lost control of the 18-wheeler and may not have had enough practice to regain control of it quickly enough to prevent the accident. The company and the hired trainer riding with him, however, owed a duty of care to ensure that new drivers receive enough training to take their semis onto a public highway.
Trainer did not adequately supervise the driver
The jury also found the trainer of the truck driver negligent in causing the victim’s wrongful death. Allegedly, he did not supervise the new semi-truck driver adequately enough while he was still in training.
During the first five days that a driver learns to operate a tractor-trailer, he or she must be under supervision for at least 30 hours. According to the complaint, the trainer failed to supervise the driver and run team assignments required for proper training. The trainer only supervised the new driver about 64% of their time together.