Inexperienced and Reckless Truck Drivers
The United States Department of Transportation enforces strict rules when it comes to truck driver training. These regulations cover driver testing, training program requirements, and the responsibilities of employers to commit to following these rules. As any truck accident lawyer knows, there are too many accidents that happen because of a truck driver's inexperience or lack of judgment. Proof of training is also required for any driver to be hired, and that proof must be presented when an accident has taken place.
If you are in an accident involving a large truck, the possibilities of a loved one or yourself being killed is much higher than if your car is hit by another passenger vehicle, because the truck is a bigger, heavier vehicle that can inflict so much more damage. Drivers of longer combination vehicles (LCVs) in particular are required to participate in a comprehensive training program that covers regulations, vehicle configuration, and how to couple and uncouple components, control and handle the truck, and maneuver it. It also instructs drivers on how to turn and steer, deal with traffic, and how to operate at night. Considerations for cargo and weight and driving in hazardous conditions are also major topics. In addition, in order to drive trucks carrying hazardous cargo such as fuel, chemicals, and toxic waste, drivers must pass additional tests.
After a truck accident, investigators will look for signs that the driver has a lack of experience. These signs include whether the driver was not obeying traffic rules, speeding, or was maneuvering the truck in an unsafe manner. Weather conditions play a role as well, because slick roads can affect a truck's performance. Recklessness and aggression also increase the chances of an accident. Since a truck is big and heavy, disaster can happen easily if a driver swerves or cuts off another vehicle at high speeds. Truck drivers without the training or experience to know how to drive in unfavorable conditions or to cope with stressful driving situations can be a hazard to themselves and anyone on the road nearby.
Accidents involving younger truck drivers have been disproportionately high, and this has been attributed to a lack of experience as well. Out of the thousands of deaths that occur at the hands of inexperienced truck drivers in the United States, and the tens of thousands who suffer life-changing injuries, many could be avoided if companies followed legal requirements for driver training. Employers are required by law to do background checks, but some attempt to cut corners in this area, occasionally with tragic results. Jackknifing, rollovers, fuel fires caused by placement of batteries in an improper location, and not braking soon enough are causes of truck accidents that can be a sign the driver is lacking the required training and experience.
Truck drivers are legally required to be adequately trained. However, they often act inappropriately on the road and often exercise poor judgment. If you've been injured or have lost a loved one due such an accident, a truck accident lawyer has the resources to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
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Sherrie Bennett, "Trucking Accidents", http://personal-injury.lawyers.com/trucking-accidents/Trucking-Accidents.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
Trucking Info, "Trucking Statistics", http://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm (accessed March 15, 2011).
U.S. Department of Transportation, "Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Rules and Regulations, special training requirements", http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguidedetails.aspx?menukey=380 (accessed March 15, 2011).