Truck Driver Inexperience or Recklessness Causes Accidents


What Role Does Driver Experience Play in Big Rig Accidents?

Believe it or not, driver experience plays a huge role in accident avoidance. And it matters a lot with big rigs. These are massive, cumbersome vehicles with multiple blind spots. But most people can't detect veteran truckers from novices.

So most of the time, it's past time to prevent a wreck. This article explores risk mitigation through driver training and education.


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Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC logo.
Table of Contents:

The Importance of Driver Training.

The United States DOT oversees and regulates truck driver experience. The training includes testing and DOT training program requirements. And the rules say employers shall keep proof of driver education.

Also, before hiring, bosses must make sure the driver has practice. Operators must prove they are licensed to drive big rigs. And they must prove they have insurance. Also, they must undergo education and testing. So operators must have basic training. But even with these rules, many bad truckers fall through the cracks.

Even if the driver passed all the mandated tests, a moment's lapse in judgment could kill. And many crashes occur in that split second lapse. Sometimes it is spurred due to lack of rest, or other physical impairment. Worse, distractions like phones and CB radios could be the reason for a freeway pile up.

Did You know that Virtually All Large Vehicles Remain Dangerous?

Tractor trailer trucks are high-risk vehicles. In other words, a crash means a high risk of injuries or death. Any smaller vehicles sharing the roads with them are at risk.

And no one can compare this to a collision with two passenger cars. These large motors weigh thousands of pounds more than small passenger cars. So they cause great damage if they hit a small car. Now imagine a big rig running over a motorcyclist, or sideswiping a bicycle rider.

Almost always, these are fatal. Even if the riders live, they can suffer a permanent brain injury, soreness, stiffness, or worse.

Why is Practice Important in Avoiding a Truck Crash?

Operators of longer combination vehicles must have much driving practice. And they must be tested to assure people they won't crash. They have to be able to perform hard and menial tasks.

For example, they must learn how to:

  • Couple and uncouple trailers safely.
  • Set up emergency hazard cones and flares in case of a wreck.
  • Use a CB or shortwave radio, and know the call signs.
  • Stop a trailer from swerving or jackknifing.
  • Log breaks, meals, and hours into a safety log daily.

Did you Know that Truckers Must Have Nerves of Steel?

The great truckers are a special breed. So they all must have nerves of steel. Most of all, they have to drive in heavy traffic safely. Moreover, they must know how to steer for road and trailer conditions.

And driving in Los Angeles is different than the small towns many truckers hail from. These people must be able to operate in:

  • Bad traffic,
  • Weather like storms,
  • Floods.

So the training instructions are quite sweeping and will cover major topics. In fact, the truck driver's teachers will cover many topics.


What Does Some Driver Training Include?

  • Cargo safety.
  • I am driving in hazardous conditions.
  • How to haul hazardous materials safely. (knowledge of toxic waste, fuel, and chemicals are tested.)

Why Would a Low Paid Trucker Spend so Much Time and Money on Training and Compliance?

All in all, trucker training is a sweeping course. And it requires continuing education. And when you consider how little haulers are paid, it makes a person wonder why not just go to law school?

Well, people drive trucks for many reasons. Some just want the freedom of being alone on the road. Many only have High School or a GED. But some are educated with advanced degrees. So it attracts people from all walks of life.

Perhaps it is the romance of the open road? Who knows. What does matter is remaining in compliance with the law. But intangibles are essential too. These include vigilance and use of common sense. If truckers mess up, many people can be killed.

After a truck crash, what will be looked at?

Usually, when there is a wreck, government agencies will look at the black box, if any. And they will look at the blood or urine of the trucker. And after a wreck, truckers must submit to a "urine test" on demand (Source).

CDL drivers must be drug and alcohol tested whenever they are involved in a fatal accident, or receive a traffic citation resulting from an injury or vehicle-disabling accident. The alcohol test must occur within 8 hours, and the drug test must occur within 32 hours. (Source).

If a tractor-trailer collision occurs, lawyers look at driver experience. Also, employment history gets researched. It could lead to character witnesses, for example. The attorneys will also look at prior similar incidents. In fact, a lot of legwork goes into this.

The gumshoe will investigate for signs the handler obeyed traffic rules. Also, they look for evidence of speeding. Evidence of unsafe maneuvering could be the reason for the accident. And experts look at weather conditions. Because of inclement weather, roadways can get hazardous.

So was the trucker driving safely for the conditions? If a traveler becomes reckless, the risk of crashing increases. Also, the weight and size of this machine are significant.

So if a driver swerves, for example, it raises the risk of accidents many times. By and large, if under stress or bad driving conditions, everyone else can suffer. As can be seen above, there are often two investigations. The plaintiff's attorney does one.

Government agencies do the other one. All in all, the idea is to find the cause of injuries or deaths. If the trucker or his company is at fault, then civil and criminal penalties can apply.

Why Should Companies Complete Legal Requirements?

Young and novice new hires have a higher rate of tragic events on the road. And this is attributed to their lack of driving experience. Also, estimates show these collisions result in thousands of deaths each year. And many are avoidable with training and compliance with the law.

Under the law, employers must do background checks. And some companies take shortcuts on this requirement. And in some cases, this results in devastating accidents. Some new employees can get in dangerous rollovers.

Also, they can cause jackknifing wrecks. And this can result in fuel fires, for example. But simple things failing to press the brakes in time can result in mass casualties. And drivers have a whole list of requirements. These include storage of replacement batteries, to first aid kits.

All these rules are there for a reason. And when the rules are not followed, people become victims. No doubt, these victims will be looking for a truck accident attorney.

Hire the Best Truck Accident Lawyers.

As discussed above, truckers must have the proper knowledge. And even with this, they may use poor judgment. Some may even drive recklessly. If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck crash, our lawyers can help.

Our law firm is available to any victim by calling (213) 596-9642. Or just click here to visit our web page.

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