Truck and 18-Wheeler Accidents Due to Inexperienced Drivers and Inadequate Training
Safely driving a truck, 18-wheeler, or other commercial vehicle takes training, skill, and experience.
In the hands of an unqualified driver, these vehicles, most of which which weigh well over 30,000 pounds, can quickly become a deadly weapon.
Truck Drivers with Less than 5 Years of Experience are 41% More Likely to Cause a Fatal Accident
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), which governs all trucking companies in the U.S, recently found that commercial drivers who have spent fewer than 5 years behind the wheel were 41% more likely to cause a fatal accident than their more experienced counterparts.
Unfortunately, the problem’s only likely to get worse, as trucking companies have started lowering hiring standards and ignoring critical training and safety requirements to get additional drivers on the road.
Basic Requirements for Driving a Truck or 18-Wheeler
Commercial trucking companies (and their drivers) are required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), which govern everything from the training that drivers are required to receive to the number of hours they can spend behind the wheel in a 24-hour period.
Part 391 of the FMCSR states that truck and 18-wheeler drivers must at least meet the following requirements in order to legally operate a commercial vehicle anywhere in the United States:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be able to read and write English
- Be physically able to operate a commercial vehicle
- Possess a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Certify that they have not been disqualified from driving for any reason, including driving under the influence, refusing a drug or alcohol test, leaving an accident scene, or committing a felony
Trucking companies are also required to conduct a background check on all new drivers to ensure that their driving records are clear, they have experience operating a similar tractor (truck) and trailer, and that they don’t have criminal convictions or drug or alcohol problems.
Once the driver’s hired, the companies are required to perform annual background and driving record certifications to ensure that all drivers continue to satisfy state and federal laws.
The Requirements for Obtaining a Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
Part 383 of the FMSCR specifically addresses the licensing standards for commercial truck drivers, including the testing and knowledge requirements for obtaining a CDL.
Before an individual can apply for a CDL, they must successfully complete a written Knowledge Test to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This permit allows the prospective driver to practice on public roads when accompanied by a qualified driver who holds a CDL.
In order to receive a CDL, permit holders must successfully complete a 3-Part Skills Tests that consists of
- a Vehicle Inspection Test
- a Basic Controls Test, and
- a Road Test
All three tests must be completed in a commercial vehicle that’s comparable to the type of tractor (truck) and trailer they’ll be operating on the road.
Surprisingly, prospective drivers are only required to have a learner’s permit for 14 days before they can take the Skills Test and qualify for a CDL.
Trucking Companies are Known for Falsifying Training Records and Destroying Other Critical Evidence to Avoid Responsibility After a Crash
The American Trucking Association recently reported an immediate need for more than 50,000 commercial truck drivers. As a result, trucking companies are recruiting novice drivers who don’t have the training or experience needed to drive and operate these commercial vehicles safely.
When one of their drivers seriously injures or kills another driver on the road, the company will do whatever possible to avoid responsibility — including destroying, modifying and fabricating training and personnel records.
They do this because the companies know that it’s much more difficult for an accident victim to prove the company was at fault for failing to properly train their drivers when the evidence of the driver’s inexperience goes missing or simply “doesn’t exist.”
That’s why it’s critical—after an accident—that you contact an experienced Truck Accident Lawyer, who will know where to find and how to prevent the trucking company from destroying evidence you’ll need to prove your case.
Injured in a Truck or 18-Wheeler Accident? Contact Our Undefeated Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here
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