Truck Driver Competence

Truck Accident Lawyer

In theory, a commercial truck driver should never be allowed on the road unless he or she is fully licensed, trained and prepared to cope with whatever difficulties or dangers may arise on the road. In practice, however, many factors can lead to a truck driver making mistakes, which may lead to a disastrous accident, not only for the truck driver but for others on the road.

There are typically two warring forces at play: The training that drivers are required to receive to ensure that they are qualified to do the job, and the circumstances that can arise on the road and affect their judgment. Sometimes experience and training wins out, but sometimes the other circumstances prevail.

Required Truck Driver Licensing and Training

To obtain a commercial driver’s license, a prospective truck driver has to take a licensing exam. Like the tests used to obtain a personal driver’s license, this test consists of two parts: A written test and a road skills test. Drivers who are interested one or more particular types of transport may seek additional endorsements.

Before a prospective truck driver can take the test, however, he or she must attend truck driving school. This includes practical training behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle as well as classroom education in the applicable laws and regulations.

Apart from trucking school, prospective drivers typically require no formal education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. However, they must have a clean driving record and be 21 years old or more.

Circumstances That Can Affect Performance

The training process to become a truck driver can be very different from the reality of actually being out on the road. Drivers may face challenges or temptations for which their training did not fully prepare them.

  1.  Unreasonable Schedules

Trucking companies want drivers to complete their routes as quickly as possible. As a result, they sometimes set unrealistic schedules for drivers that force them to speed just to keep up with their itinerary.

  1.  Fatigue

When trucking companies demand too much, the drivers can become fatigued trying to keep up the pace. A fatigued driver may fall asleep at the wheel or lose coordination and concentration while driving.

  1.  Drugs and Alcohol

There are many reasons why a truck driver may use controlled substances while working. Often, though not always, it may be an attempt to improve sleep quality when allowed to rest or, conversely, counteract the effects of fatigue while driving. Whatever the reason, alcohol or drugs (including prescription medications) can impair one’s driving ability and lead to accidents.

These are only a few of the factors that can lead to truck accidents. Even a well-trained, experienced, and competent driver can make poor decisions. Nevertheless, you have the right to hold the driver accountable if you are injured in a truck accident. Contact a law office to find out how an MVA lawyer in Minneapolis, MN can help.

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and truck driver competence.