Driving a commercial truck that can weigh 80,000 pounds or more takes experience and skill. In addition, the trucker must have a commercial truck license (CDL). Unfortunately, many trucking companies fail to hire qualified truck drivers and to adequately train them. The consequences can be catastrophic for the victims of a truck accident caused by an inadequately trained trucker.
Requirements to Obtain a Commercial Truck Driver
Truck drivers may obtain a CDL through a trucking school or a CDL-specific training program. In some cases, a trucker can obtain this license without any real training. In order to obtain his license, an applicant must pass both a driving and written test.
Before applying for a CDL, the trucker must have a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for 14 days that allows him to drive a commercial truck with another CDL-licensed truck driver. In order to obtain a permit, the trucker must pass the written portion of the skills test, have a clean driving record for 10 years, and be medically certified to drive a truck. He must also comply with any requirements to obtain a commercial license of the state where he resides.
There are three different levels of licenses, which dictate the type of truck a trucker is permitted to drive. They include:
- Class A. This allows a person to drive a truck with a combined gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more.
- Class B. A trucker will this type of CDL can drive a single vehicle with a weight of 10,000 pounds or less.
- Class C. A Class C CDL allows a truck driver to drive vehicles that do not fall within Class A or B. This can include carrying some hazardous materials or driving vehicles with 16 or more passengers.
A truck driver may need a special endorsement to drive a double- or triple-trailer truck, drive a tanker truck, or to transport hazardous substances. In addition, he may be restricted from driving certain types of trucks if he failed an air brake test. Unfortunately, some trucking companies allow truckers to drive a truck that they are not authorized to drive either because they do not have the correct level of license or the proper endorsement.
How Unqualified and Inadequately Trained Truckers Cause Accidents
When a truck driver does not have the basic qualifications for the type of truck he is driving and additional training from the trucking company that hires him, he is much more likely to cause a tragic crash. Some of the ways that their inexperience leads to collisions include:
- Driving too fast for weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice
- Not responding quickly and properly to emergency situations on the road to avoid a crash
- Violating basic traffic laws
- Driving a truck with unsecured or improperly loaded cargo
- Failing to make required inspections of a truck or driving it with known maintenance problems
- Driving when drowsy or in violation of hours of service regulations governing how long a driver can drive without a break
- Engaging in distracted driving, such as eating and drinking, texting, and looking at a GPS
If you were injured in a truck accident in Norfolk, our experienced truck accident attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation, including determining whether the negligent trucker had the proper license and was improperly trained to drive a truck. Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.