Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 at 7:10 pm
Driving a heavy truck instead of a standard motor vehicle takes considerable skill and experience. Many times, it’s a lack of proper training that is ultimately the culprit for truck accidents that cause catastrophic injuries or even death.
Some trucks and large semis can weigh as much as 40 tons, while the average vehicle weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. As such, it is imperative that truck drivers are properly trained in how to operate these dangerous vehicles safely. There are state and federal regulations that guide training requirements.
Federal Truck Driver Regulations
To apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), vehicle operators must meet certain requirements as set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: These requirements include:
- Getting a CDL in their state of residence and then passing a driving or skills and knowledge test in that same state. Some jurisdictions require a road test that includes an inspection of the vehicle.
- Drivers must certify that the motor vehicle used for the test is similar to what they expect to operate.
- Pass background screening that includes proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency and proof of residency in their home state.
- Provide information regarding other states you’ve been licensed in within the past ten years, as well as relinquish any commercial learner’s permit and non-CDL license from the state. Drivers also must not carry a license from another state.
Federal Training Regulations
Truck drivers must be trained by a behind-the-wheel instructor listed on the training provider registry. Training requirements for new CDL operators also include:
- Meeting all driver and medical qualifications, as there are rules regarding medical certification, medical examination procedures, general qualifications, and responsibilities. There are also disqualifications based on various offenses, orders, and loss of driving privileges.
- Driver wellness, such as maintaining a proper diet and exercise, as well as the importance of avoiding excessive alcohol use. This should go a long way in reducing driver error.
- Hours of service, including limitations on driving hours, regulations mandating being off-duty for a certain amount of time, preparing and maintaining duty logs, and learning appropriate fatigue countermeasures to prevent accidents.
- Whistleblower protections, namely the right of an employee to question their employer’s safety practices without fear of termination, reprimand, or other retaliation.
Requirements also exist for the behind-the-wheel instructors that are listed on the training provider registry. A behind-the-wheel instructor is an individual who provides training involving the actual operation of a commercial motor vehicle by an entry-level driver on a range or a public road. Behind-the-wheel instructors must meet one of the following requirements:
- Meet all state requirements to be a commercial motor vehicle instructor; hold a CDL of the same or higher class than the trainee and with all endorsements necessary to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and have at least two years of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL of the same or higher class. Or
- Meet all state requirements to be a commercial motor vehicle instructor; hold a CDL of the same or higher class than the trainee and with all endorsements necessary to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and have at least two years of experience as a behind-the-wheel commercial motor vehicle instructor.
Mistakes Caused by a Lack of Training
There are many different types of mistakes that a poorly trained truck driver can make. An experienced truck driver is very familiar with his vehicle and the braking system, whereas an improperly trained truck driver may struggle. Below are some of the more common mistakes made by a poorly trained driver.
- Failing to correctly secure the cargo load
- Failing to maintain the proper load weight
- Failing to follow the posted height restrictions
- Having difficulty driving the truck up or downhill, or slowing and stopping as appropriate
- Having difficulty handling a curve or corner properly
- Failing to identify mechanical problems with the truck
How Our Attorneys Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, tractor-trailer, or another type of large commercial vehicle, contact the experienced truck driving accident lawyers at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. We will not only investigate and work to hold the inexperienced truck driver accountable, but we will also seek to hold their employer responsible. We will examine whether the trucking company failed to properly train their driver who ultimately caused your injuries.
Because these types of accidents and claims can involve multiple parties, you don’t want to handle your claim on your own. Place your trust in the experienced legal team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. We will investigate, work to collect the truck driver’s logbook information, examine whether the driver was properly trained, and gather other essential evidence in order to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (205) 324-1212.