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Can Driver Records Help After a Commercial Vehicle Crash?

Posted On January 2, 2017 In Truck Accidents

Records are important after a commercial vehicle accidentDriver records and complaints are useful for establishing fault after a commercial vehicle crash. The recent school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a great example of how prior complaints and records are helpful. Six children lost their lives in this crash and dozens more suffered injuries. Police reports and witnesses suggest the driver was speeding. These reports may be correct.

Parents and school officials had complained about the driver before the accident. The school’s principal complained two separate times about school bus driver several weeks before the crash. These complaints mention speeding, dangerous driving and other unprofessional behavior.

Parents, students and teachers sent emails and letters to the school discussing these concerns. One student’s letter in the weeks prior to the crash claimed the bus traveled so fast, that it felt as if it would flip over. It is possible these complaints, letters and emails may become evidence in civil lawsuits against the company that employed the bus driver, and the driver himself.

There are other types of formal records that may be used in commercial truck and bus accidents. Among the most important is the driver qualification file (DQF). A DQF may show the following:

  • Drug and alcohol testing information.
  • Driving records, including a history of accidents
  • Regulation violations, such as failing to perform maintenance checks or abide by hours of service rules.
  • A DQF will show medical certifications for drivers. Some medical conditions disqualify drivers from possessing a CDL (commercial driver’s license).
  • Records may show the employment history of drivers. For example, whether drivers were fired from other companies.
  • A DQF may show the performance reviews of drivers.
  • DQFs can show training certificates. This is especially important evidence for accidents involving drivers carrying certain types of loads, such as hazardous materials.

Can Business Records Help After a Commercial Vehicle Crash?

We have only mentioned a few possible examples of what might appear in a DQF. Commercial carriers have other types of records, not only on drivers, but business practices. Records may have information on inspections, repairs and hiring practices. There may also be records that suggest commercial carriers rushed their drivers to meet certain deadlines, putting other motorists at risk in the process. These business records are also useful evidence following a truck or bus accident case.

Commercial carriers or drivers may try to spoil or destroy this evidence after a crash. A major reason it is important for accident survivors or family members to contact an attorney right away is to prevent the spoliation of evidence.

The major takeaway from this blog is that commercial carriers and drivers responsible for accidents are more likely to have poor safety records. There is almost always a paper trail showing regulation violations or other unsafe behavior.

The Texas truck accident attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC are dedicated to helping the victims and family members of truck crashes.

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