Lack of driver training and experience translates into significant crash risks. In fact, when truckers are at fault in an accident, inexperience is the third most commonly cited contributing factor, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study. (Only driver fatigue and unfamiliarity with the area contribute to more accidents than inexperience.)
Carriers should employ only competent truck drivers that meet all driver training requirements mandated by the FMCSA. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commented: “Over the next 30 years, we’re going to be relying on trucks – and truckers – to move more than 40 percent more freight than they currently do. With more people and freight crossing our country than ever before, [Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee’s] work will be critical to ensuring that commercial drivers are fully capable of operating their vehicles safely.”
Foxx’s comments don’t mention – but should – that truck drivers need to follow hours of service rules while they are moving 40 percent more freight. Many don’t know that unreasonable work schedules are another factor in driver training that gets glossed over by trucking companies looking to make a quick buck with new recruits.
Federal Truck Driver Training Requirements
The FMCSA provides a list of qualifications that commercial truck drivers must possess in CFR § 391.11. Below are some of the requirements.
- Drivers must be at least 21 years old.
- They must be able to read and speak the English language (well enough to converse in public, read signs, and maintain logbooks).
- They must have sufficient experience or training or both that enables them to operate safely the type of commercial motor vehicle they are driving.
- They have to pass a physical exam.
- They have to have a valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license (CDL) issued only by one state.
- They have to furnish their employer with a list of violations.
- They must not have any disqualifications, e.g., DUIs, drug-related driving charges, CDL lapses, etc.
- They must have completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test.
For a free legal consultation, call (614) 538-1116
When Lack of Truck Driving Experience Leads to a Crash
The decision to hire a truck crash lawyer is probably the easiest step you’ll take. One of the first tasks your attorney will take over for you is identifying the cause of the accident.
Your lawyer can obtain information about the drivers’ training and work experience, and if there are any violations of federal requirements or sufficient evidence to show that the driver was not adequately qualified or experienced, it’s quite likely that fault for the accident is attributable to the truck company. If the carrier if found at fault and liable for the crash, then your lawyer will be able to help you recover all your damages.