Most commercial truck drivers go out of their way to avoid accidents, but others can be careless or aggressive, posing a risk to everyone else on the road. If you can do so safely, reporting this driver may result in the police getting involved and preventing an accident before it happens. If the employer receives complaints, they may fire the driver and hopefully find another line of work.
No matter what you do to report what’s happening, you must do so safely. Don’t become a hazard that’s just as dangerous, or more so, than the truck driver. Don’t pick up your phone while driving and start making phone calls or videos. If your phone’s set up so you can communicate hands-free, do that. Ideally, you’ll have a passenger who can do the work while you drive.
If you believe the driver is impaired or driving so irresponsibly you’re afraid they’ll cause an accident, call 9-1-1 and give the dispatcher your name, location, contact information, describe the truck and what it’s doing. Give the license number if you can. If there’s a company name on the outside of the truck, give that to the dispatcher too.
Tell the dispatcher the truth and don’t exaggerate. If the truck passed you at high speed, make a guess based on your speed at the time. An officer may or may not be close enough to respond, but your call may be helpful if there’s an accident afterward.
If that’s the case, the police may call you back and ask what happened. If your name and contact information are in the crash report and a lawsuit’s filed by someone injured by the truck, you may be contacted by their attorney and the trucking company’s insurance carrier. Statements by a disinterested party describing dangerous truck driving could help resolve the case with a favorable settlement for the plaintiff.
If you’re concerned but don’t think it’s an emergency, you could call the Kentucky State Police’s non-emergency number (800-222-5555). They can decide what to do with your information.
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Call the Trucking Company
Some trucks and trailers have phone numbers on them asking motorists to report how well the driver’s doing their job. You could call them and give the information you’d give the police. If there’s no such phone number, but the truck company’s phone number is on the truck, call it. They may or may not be proactive about driver safety, but it’s worth a try.
Insurance is a significant cost for a trucking company, and making a claim due to an accident will only worsen the situation. The company should also be concerned about more than dollars. They shouldn’t want to employ a reckless driver who may severely injure or kill others.
If there are multiple complaints about a driver, it could be a reason to fire the driver before serious harm is done.
The Medium is the Message
Video from a dashcam or from a passenger’s smartphone may be very useful. You could describe something on the phone, but the driver may deny what happened. A still photo, unless it’s of a hazardous situation, won’t have the impact that a video will.
Try to get identifying information in the video, like the license plate and name of the trucking company. A video with a shot of your car’s clock would show when this happened, images of your speedometer would show how fast the truck is going, and passing road signs could indicate the location.
Stay a safe distance away if you’re calling someone about the driver or shooting a video. Don’t get tangled up with the truck to get a better video. If you’re making a bad situation worse, this could devolve into a road rage incident with the truck driver.
It’s Worth a Try
The police may be too busy or short-staffed to act on your complaint. A trucking company may be indifferent because they’re so desperate for drivers that they’ll look the other way if a complaint’s made. But making a report may be the right thing to do, and you’ve done your part to make driving safer.
Are You Injured in an Accident With a Commercial Truck and Need an Attorney?
If you want to learn more about your rights to compensation or need a lawyer to protect your rights, call The Fleck Firm to schedule a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll discuss the accident, how Kentucky law may apply, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.