Home > Truck and 18-Wheeler Accidents Caused by Inexperienced Drivers
Truck and 18-Wheeler Accidents Caused by Inexperienced Drivers
Safely operating a truck, 18-wheeler or bus requires a skilled, experienced and qualified driver. That’s why federal and state laws hold truck and bus drivers to a higher standard.
These laws require, for example, that truck drivers be disqualified from driving when they violate traffic safety laws or leave the scene of an accident and that trucking companies immediately take unqualified or dangerous drivers off the road.
Because trucking companies tend to be more focused on profit than safety, these rules are often ignored, ultimately leading to a number of serious accidents and fatalities that could (and should) have been avoided.
When Truck and 18-Wheeler Drivers are Legally Disqualified from Driving
Commercial trucking companies (and their drivers) are required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), which, among other things, establish the minimum qualifications for driving an 18-wheeler or other large, commercial truck.
Part 383.51 of the FMSCA lists the traffic safety violations and major offenses that will immediately disqualify a truck or bus driver from continuing to operate a commercial vehicle.
The Following Traffic Violations Require at Least a 60-Day Suspension of the Driver’s CDL
These regulations, if violated, require that the truck or bus driver be suspended for at least 60-days—assuming this is their first offense:
- Driving more than 15 mph over the posted speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating
- Illegal acts in connection with a motor vehicle accident
- Driving without a valid commercial driver’s license
A second or subsequent offense will result in a 120-day suspension of the driver’s CDL (Commercial Drivers License).
Offenses that Require at Least a 1-Year Suspension of the Driver’s CDL
A minimum of a 1 -year suspension of the driver’s Commercial Driver’s License is required for the following offenses:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Refusing a drug or alcohol test
- Using the vehicle to commit a felony
- Leaving the scene of a multi-vehicle accident
- Causing a fatality by the negligent operation of a commercial vehicle
- Continuing to drive a truck while a CDL is suspended
Any driver who commits a second major offense faces life-time disqualification. However, Texas and some other states do allow reinstatement after 10 years, as long as the driver has met certain conditions.
Trucking Companies May Destroy or Falsify Evidence of Driver Disqualification After a Crash
The commercial trucking industry is facing a severe driver shortage that has led many trucking companies to hire inexperienced drivers with questionable driving records, including drivers who have previously been disqualified for violating state and federal safety regulations.
These trucking companies will go to extreme lengths – even to the point of falsifying or destroying personnel files and employment records – when one of their disqualified drivers causes an accident that injures or kills an innocent motorist.
They do this because the trucking companies (and their insurance companies) know that it will be far more difficult for accident victims to prove the company was at fault for allowing a disqualified driver behind the wheel if this evidence simply disappears and doesn’t exist.
That’s why it’s so important to hire an experienced Truck Accident Lawyer who understands how trucking companies operate, where they hide their evidence, and what needs to be done to prove that the trucking company and its driver were in violation of state and federal safety regulations.
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