Improperly Trained Drivers
There are often numerous factors at work in collisions between commercial tractor-trailers and other vehicles. One of the most critical and common causes of truck accidents is improper training.
Every licensed truck driver is required to pass very detailed testing for driving skill, industry rules and regulations, and practical knowledge of the operation of a commercial truck. However, due to the high demands faced by the trucking industry and a lack of highly trained over-the-road drivers, some truck drivers are allowed on the road who are either too inexperienced to safely drive their big rigs or who have never received the necessary training to operate their truck safely. This inexperience, coupled with a lack of proper training, leads to a significant number of trucking-related accidents on the highways, surface streets, and interstates of Texas.
Keep in mind that these are federally mandated rules regarding the training of truck drivers, not guidelines recommended by the trucking industry and its various lobbying groups. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has hard and fast rules and regulations regarding commercial truck driver training and testing. These laws, generally governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), make it perfectly clear to the trucking industry that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all USDOT rules and regulations are followed by their drivers and other employees.
Risks of Improper Driver Training
Truck drivers who are not properly tested, sufficiently trained or have not acquired the necessary experience to operate a commercial truck safely have a much higher risk of making mistakes, colliding with other vehicles, and becoming a threat to the health and safety of other motorists.
Even setting aside a potential lack of knowledge about industry rules and regulations, a poorly trained commercial truck driver may not fully appreciate how dangerous specific driving activities may be. These may include distracted driving, operating a truck while in a fatigued state, not securing a heavy payload before hitting the road, or failing to inspect the truck before heading out.
Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers may also not have a clear understanding of the physical dynamics of a commercial tractor-trailer that weighs up to 30,000 pounds even before loading cargo. An inability to predict the way a large and heavy commercial truck will handle in an emergency situation can create havoc on the highway for adjacent or oncoming traffic near a big rig sliding out of control.
A driver who hasn’t received the legally required training regarding his or her tractor-trailer doesn’t even know the critical areas of the truck to inspect before driving into heavy traffic. A failure to secure heavy cargo, inspect important safety points, or maintain a commercial vehicle can lead to a catastrophic accident at high speeds and have devastating results for victims in a collision.
Driver training is a critical first step in putting truck drivers behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. Unfortunately, some commercial trucking operators are either negligent in their training programs or not aggressive enough in ensuring the capabilities of their drivers and making their training programs both legal and available to drivers. We often find that if the driver involved in a major trucking accident here in Texas had been training on critical details like making safe turns, safe braking distance and other technical skills, a truck accident might well have been avoided.
Holding Commercial Carriers Responsible
Legally, it is the responsibility of the trucking company, also known as a commercial carrier, to ensure that their drivers are adequately trained to comply with regulations and have the skills necessary to operate a large commercial truck. Checklists that monitor the condition, maintenance, and repair schedule of a tractor-trailer must be put in place and maintained daily. Adequate and accurate recording of hours must be captured in order to avoid placing fatigued drivers on our roads and highways.
Negligent training is a major cause of truck accidents that can be avoided through ethical hiring, quality training, and thorough background investigations. If a commercial trucking operator fails in any of these areas, they may be held liable for damages in the wake of a truck accident. Ultimately, determining liability on the part of a commercial trucking company may come down to just a few questions:
- Did the driver have appropriate training?
- Did the crash occur due to a truck driver error related to the driver’s training or experience?
- To what extent was another motorist or other party responsible for the collision?
- Was the carrier aware, or should it have been aware, of any driver training deficiencies or defects in the truck itself?
Contact Us for Accidents Involving Poorly Trained Truck Drivers
The Houston truck accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. who work on Texas truck accidents and lawsuits take action immediately to investigate whether a truck driver may have caused an accident because of improper training. Our investigations into driver training are just one part of a multi-faceted approach to truck accident lawsuits that also includes reviews of maintenance and repair records, the history of the trucking equipment, and any other factors that may have led a truck driver to cause a catastrophic truck crash.
We have decades of experience representing people who were seriously injured in Texas truck accidents, and understand how devastating these types of injuries can be physically, emotionally, and financially. That is why we fight to see that trucking companies are held accountable when they put inadequately trained drivers on the road — and to see that you get the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for you. Contact us today at 281-283-8500 to learn what the experienced Houston truck accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can do to help you.