Truck accidents are often far worse than a car accident because trucks are typically ten times the weight of a normal vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,986 people died in large truck accidents in 2016. Because of the high risk of injury trucks pose to other drivers, it makes sense that truck drivers would receive as much training as possible before they get on the road. This is not always the case. Instead, truckers are often underprepared for the long hours on the road and the difficulties of operating a large vehicle. When a trucker is not prepared the results can be deadly.
Drivers are required to possess a commercial drivers license (CDL) to operate a big rig or a bus. The main reason for this requirement is to help ensure the safety of the drivers and others on the road. But having a CDL is often not enough to prepare the driver for the reality of operating a big rig on the road.
Commercial truck drivers must attend an educational program to get a CDL. Unfortunately, many of these schools only train for a short time or don’t provide the necessary skills training. Some schools advertise that you can get your CDL in as little as 15 days. Many new employees spend about a week in classroom training. Then drivers receive training on how to operate and inspect the truck. After just a few hours of actual drive time, and passing a brief driving test, these truckers are turned loose with their CDL.
Because of a shortage of truck drivers in the United States, many companies hire drivers right out of driving school. The standard to obtain a CDL is so low that it becomes the responsibility of a trucking company to provide additional training to their drivers. Some trucking companies require new drivers to spend time riding with more experienced truckers, but this is not the norm in the industry because of the time and expense involved.
In addition to the CDL requirements, a trucking company should train its drivers on the proper use of the braking and acceleration systems, how to make wide turns, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse on safe driving, and the dangers of distracted driving. Drivers who handle oversized loads or hazardous materials should receive specialized training. Trucking companies should also periodically provide refresher training for all drivers.
New Training Standards
New training standards for entry-level truck operators have been finalized by the U.S. Department of Transportation and will become requirements on February 7, 2020. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule establishes training standards which encompass classroom training and behind the wheel training. The rule also establishes a registry of FMCSA-approved trainers that entry-level truckers must use to receive their training. However, there is no required amount of hours for behind the wheel training. While these new requirements will hopefully make the roads safer, they may not go far enough.
At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been representing injured New Yorkers for over 50 years. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact us, and we will conduct a thorough and complete investigation to determine who may be at fault for your injury. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling us at 1-888-MED-LAW1. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla Español.