Commercial truck drivers must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate a tractor-trailer. Those qualifications are met through the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the driver of the truck meets training requirements necessary to lawfully operate the vehicle.
Overview of Trucking Training Requirements
Like other vehicle operator licenses, to obtain a license to operate a commercial vehicle, drivers must pass a test. Drivers can prepare by attending a truck driving school that teaches the necessary skills. Sometimes they also provide opportunities for more hands-on training in addition to lessons that cover what may be on a written test.
Each state has its own testing. However, all tests must meet federal standards. Testing includes not only a written portion but a driving test where the individual must demonstrate the skills necessary to operate the vehicle.
There are three classes of licenses that can be issued depending on the type of vehicle that will be driven: Class A, Class B and Class C. Regardless of the type of tractor-trailer, any vehicle that carries at least 26,000 pounds requires special training and licensing.
Employer’s Responsibility to Ensure Drivers Meet Truck Training Requirements
Not only must the driver ensure he or she is properly licensed, it is up to the trucking company that hires a driver to ensure that drivers meet all training requirements. A failure to do so could result in not only serious penalties but responsibility for a driver’s actions when someone else is injured or killed.
Drivers may even go through additional training once hired, especially if the driver has no previous experience operating a tractor-trailer. Time spent in the passenger seat observing another driver is one option. Or there may be additional training geared toward loading cargo or other job-related tasks.
Liability of Employers When Truck Training Requirements Are Insufficient or Not Met
Employers can be liable for an accident if it’s discovered that the driver did not qualify to operate the truck or lacked sufficient training. However, uncovering a deceit like this can take a lot of investigation and most claimants hire an Atlanta truck attorney to handle the case.
One example is when a trucking company hires a driver who does not have a valid license or if the driver’s license was:
- canceled; or
- suspended and the employer continues to allow the driver to operate a truck.
Another is when the driver is given more responsibilities that necessitate additional training that is never provided.
For instance, additional tests must be passed to operate certain types of trucks like:
- tank vehicles;
- double/triple trailers; and
- those transporting hazardous materials.
Ensuring that drivers are adequately trained is the responsibility of employers. This doesn’t mean that a trucker can’t be liable for injuries in an accident, but the trucking company is certainly accountable for their wrong actions.
Accidents Caused by Inadequate Training
Driving a truck requires special skills, as they don’t handle the same as a passenger car. So when the trucker’s training was not sufficient, it increases the risk of an accident. For instance, it takes a semi much longer to stop than it does a motor vehicle. By not allowing enough distance, this could cause a truck to slam into the back of another car.
Truckers must also be familiar with certain traffic laws and regulations that apply specifically to truckers. These often deal with vehicle weight, hours-of-service requirements, and other issues unique to truckers.
If in an accident caused by a trucker who did not receive proper training or did not possess appropriate qualifications to operate the vehicle, contact an attorney. Jason R. Schultz can help victims of truck accidents pursue fair compensation for their damages – call today: 404-474-0804.