How Competent Are Truck Drivers?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Weighing in at 30,000 lbs or more, big trucks are some of the most intimidating vehicles on the road. Studies estimate approximately 5,000 people in passenger vehicles die annually in wrecks with tractor trailers. The reasons can vary from sleepy driving to use of controlled substance and many other things. It’s enough to make one wonder just how competent big truck drivers really are. Learn what types of standards and rules impact tractor trailer drivers.

Truckers Get Specialized Training

Written and practical tests of tractor trailer drives are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each driver is required to get something called a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Obtaining such a license involves:

  • classroom sessions and time behind the wheel
  • a physical exam biannually 
  • A clean driving record

These are just a few of the requirements to get a CDL and the foundation for being authorized to operate a truck.

What Rules Must Truckers Obey?

While passenger vehicle drivers have one set of rules for the road, truck drivers have added ones. For one, they must keep a digital log of when they drive and when they take breaks. They’re restricted from clocking more than 14 hours, and can only drive for 11 hours at a time. Truck drivers can’t transport alcoholic beverages if it isn’t their cargo, and they must have records ready for inspection on demand.

Causes of Truck Accidents 

Tractor trailer accidents occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, the weight of a truck, moving at an inappropriate speed or simply rounding a corner, can cause a truck to jackknife or flip over. Another common cause of accidents is driver fatigue. That’s because truckers are often under pressure to deliver their cargo quickly and may cut corners when it comes to the rules of taking breaks. Improper maintenance is another key cause for truck accidents. Worn out breaks, poorly maintained tires and other truck parts are major contributors to accidents. Finally, the same distracted driving that plagues passenger vehicle drivers is common among truck drivers. Texting and driving can be especially catastrophic when the driver is in a 15-ton vehicle.

The average truck driver is like any working person – just trying to do their job and get home. But that doesn’t mean some of them don’t take shortcuts when it comes to safety. Understand what truck drivers are and aren’t supposed to be doing and hire a truck accident lawyer in Canoga Park, CA if you become a victim.

Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into personal injury claims and the competency of truck drivers.