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How does a driver's history database prevent truck accidents?

In the United States, the federal agency that oversees the commercial tractor-trailer industry is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA is responsible for enforcing rules and regulations designed to increase overall traffic safety, with particular interest in reducing commercial truck, bus and motor coach accidents.

NHTSA has implemented several programs designed at achieving those goals. The pre-employment screening program or PSP is one such example of NHTSA's pro-active approach towards limiting truck accident related fatalities and injuries.

PSP works by maintaining a national database of commercially licensed drivers and their driving and inspection histories. The database is known as the Motor Carrier Management Information Systems. The way that PSP works is that for the relatively small fee of $10, commercial drivers can obtain a record of their driving histories over the previous five years, and their inspection histories going back three years.

This system is meant to encourage drivers to exercise caution over the course of their careers, while also providing potential employers with a reasonable means to determine the driving aptitude of potential employees.

In a previous blog post, we discussed the legal doctrine of vicarious liability. This essentially means that employers can sometimes be held liable for the actions of their employees if it can be established that the employers exercised negligent hiring practices. In some cases, this means that an injured plaintiff can sue a large trucking company to recover his or her medical costs and lost wages.

If you are a New Jersey resident who has been injured as a result of a truck accident, you should consult with your attorney after first seeking medical attention. It may be possible that the driver responsible for your injuries had a poor driving record or was otherwise unsuited to engage in commercial trucking activities.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Saftey Administration, "PSP - Making Roads Safer One Road at a Time" Oct. 30, 2014

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