Lack of Driver Training Creates Serious Dangers

Truck drivers need to receive the proper training and develop advanced driving skills before they safely can take to the road behind the wheel of a large tractor-trailer. However, trucking industry demand for new drivers may lead trucking companies to try to rush a driver through the licensing and certification process. When this critical step is shortened or skipped, the consequences can be catastrophic.

There are basic requirements that truck drivers must satisfy in order to driver a commercial truck. These criteria are:

  • The driver must possess the physical capacity to handle the demands of a large truck;
  • The driver must have passed the licensing test that qualifies an individual to operate a large truck;
  • The driver must be able to pass a thorough background check that includes a search of driving records to see if there is a history of aggressive or reckless driving and a review of any indicators of substance abuse problems; and
  • The driver must have completed the requisite training hours for certification.

When a trucking company or driver disregards any of these requirements, a devastating accident might result.

The physical fitness of a driver is critical. When a driver has a medical condition that may impact his ability to drive a truck, it is critical that he disclose it or that the trucking company takes the appropriate steps to discover it. A person with a seizure disorder never should operate a tractor-trailer.

The licensing and certification process gives a driver the technical skills necessary to operate a large truck. In addition to needing to understand the mechanics of driving the truck, a driver also must be able to recognize issues with the truck that need to be addressed immediately. Worn tires, malfunctioning brakes, or an improperly secured load cannot be ignored.

It is possible to discover that a driver lacks the necessary training by reviewing the facts about the accident, including the time immediately before and after the crash. A complete picture can be put together by analyzing the driver’s log, police reports, eyewitness accounts, trucking company documents, and any still or video images. Some signs or evidence of insufficient or completely lacking training are:

  • Missing certifications or no commercial driver’s license at all;
  • A lack of driver skill assessments in his file;
  • No documents in the driver’s file relating to the driver having completed the proper number of training hours; and
  • Observations that the driver made the following basic errors while operating the large truck:
    • Driver failed to observe posted height restrictions;
    • Driver failed to navigate a curve or corner because he erroneously assessed the requisite turning radius;
    • Driver did not operate the truck with sufficient skill to travel up or down an incline;
    • Driver was swerving across multiple lanes of traffic;
    • Driver did not secure the load properly;
    • Driver did not ensure that the load weight was distributed properly;
    • Driver did not observe obvious problems with the truck, including bald tires and broken warning and indicator lights; or
    • Driver failed to take the appropriate actions to slow or stop the truck in response to an obvious need to do so.

Although many of the negligent driving indicators also could be present if the driver were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted, or suffering from driver fatigue, a skilled truck accident attorney will know how to combine behavioral evidence with documentary proof of insufficient training to demonstrate the negligence of the trucking company and the driver.

Peter Thompson & Associates Advocates for Truck Accident Victims

When an untrained or poorly trained driver has caused a serious accident that left you severely injured, it is important to contact the skilled truck accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates as soon as possible. Although a victim may bring a personal injury action in Maine up to six years after the date of the accident, the evidence of the trucking company and driver’s negligence begins to deteriorate or disappear quickly. We will begin the build a case to hold the negligent parties accountable as soon as you decide that you want us to fight on your behalf. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 800.804.2004.

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