Driving a massive commercial 18-wheeler is a little more complicated than driving a Honda Civic, or even a Ford F-250.
It takes more than a short class and hours of practice to operate a commercial vehicle safely.
As a truck driver, you need to be able to handle various kinds of trucks and their transmissions, brakes, and other complicated systems.
Truck drivers also need specialized training that will allow them to handle poor weather conditions, congested traffic, narrow turns, and blown tires.
Without the proper training to be able to hand the various types of commercial trucks, systems, and dangerous situations, inexperienced truckers are much more likely to cause a crash.
More experienced and better-trained truck drivers are better able to evade a collision or greatly minimize the consequences of an accident.
If you were involved in an accident involving a poorly trained or inexperienced truck driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
In the article below, we'll discuss truck accidents involving inexperienced drivers, and what you can do if you were involved in one.
Poor Truck Driver Training Will Cause Accidents
There's a reason no one wants an inexperienced 14-year-old letting loose behind the wheel of a sports car.
That 14-year-old has not been trained, and that sports car has a lot of muscle. There's a lot that can go wrong.
The same principle applies to truck drivers. An inexperienced CDL driver with next to no experience and minimal/inadequate training is much more likely to cause an accident.
When an inexperienced driver gets behind the wheel of a big rig, there is an infinite number of things that can go wrong.
Some of those things include:
- Not slowing down or stopping too late
- Improper braking that causes sliding or jackknifing
- Violating hours of service regulations and drowsy driving
- Driving off the road
- Poorly executed turns
- Driving too fast for the road or weather conditions
- Flipping the truck by turning or changing lanes too quickly for the load
The Trucking Company Could Be Liable
Every trucking company is legally responsible for hiring and retaining qualified and competent drivers.
Trucking companies who send drivers out onto the road are ultimately responsible for the driver's actions and the consequences of those actions.
It's the companies responsibility to conduct the proper research when they hire new drivers to make sure every driver has their CDLs, any necessary endorsements, and adequate training.
All of those elements are necessary to ensure every truck driver is technically qualified and actually competent to operate a truck.
New truck drivers who have only learned the basics will need additional training before they can hit the road alone.
What Training Is Required?
CDL requirements are managed by the state a person lives in.
Numerous programs in each state will teach the basic knowledge and skills necessary to obtain a CDL.
Truck drivers start out with a commercial learner's permit by passing knowledge tests, proving they are medically capable of driving a commercial truck, and having a clean driving record for 10 years.
The commercial learner's permit allows them to practice driving with a qualified CDL holder in the vehicle with them.
The truck driver will need to have their commercial learner's permit for at least 14 days to be eligible for the skills test.
The skills test will include the vehicle inspection test, the basic controls test, and the road test.
The current regulations for becoming a commercial truck driver aren't very strict.
It can be completed in just a few weeks, which doesn't seem like nearly enough time to ensure that a future truck driver has been well-trained.
In December of 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, announced that it had established new rules regarding the training standards for entry-level commercial truck drivers.
The rules were set to go in place on February 6, 2017, but President Trump ordered a freeze on the new regulations.
The actual date of effect could end up being February 7, 2020.
As it stands now, truckers seeking to obtain a CDL starting in 2020 will need to follow the new rules.
The new rules will apply to any individual trying to obtain any class of CDL for the first time, upgrading to a higher class, or seeking new endorsements.
Applicants will have to complete an entry-level driver training program provided by an entity on the FMCSA's training provider registry.
The program will include theory instruction and behind the wheel instruction on both a range and public roads.
The applicants will need to demonstrate proficiency in all elements before obtaining their license or endorsement.
What To Do If You're Involved In An Accident With An Inexperienced Truck Driver
The first thing you need to do if you were injured in a trucking accident is to get your injuries treated and documented.
The next thing you need to do is contact a truck accident attorney.
If you hire an attorney immediately after your accident, you will be able to quickly investigate the cause of the accident and determine if a lack of training was responsible for the accident.
If a lack of training is apparent, this can be used to prove that the trucking company was negligent in retaining this driver and allowing them on the road.
Once negligence is established, your lawyer will be able to obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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