Truck Companies Are Responsible for Using Trained and Experienced Drivers
Yes, it is true that a new pilot program has been implemented that allows those as young as 18-20 to drive a semi-truck. If this seems like a phenomenally bad idea on the surface, it will appear even more so in light of the following information.
If you have been injured due to an inexperienced truck driver, you could be entitled to compensation from the driver, the trucking company, or both. Contact Truck.Law to be connected with a truck accident attorney in your area.
How Do Inexperienced Truck Drivers End Up On the Road?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented a Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program in response to instruction based on the Bipartisian Infrastructure Law. This program was designed to quickly put more drivers on the roads to ease supply and distribution challenges.
Motor carriers participating in the program are responsible for ensuring that drivers are fully trained and sufficiently experienced before allowing them to drive on their own. This means that if a driver is put on the road before they are ready, the trucking company could be liable.
What Are the Qualifications for Young Truck Drivers?
Young drivers who want to participate in the pilot program must meet certain qualifications.
For the two years preceding, the driver must not:
- Have had more than one license
- Had their license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified for violation
- Had any conviction of motor vehicle laws in connection with an accident
- Had a crash in which they were found at fault
- Been convicted of operating under the influence
- Have refused a breathalyzer test
- Have left the scene of an accident
- Have used a vehicle to commit a felony
- Have caused a fatality through negligent operation of a commercial motor vehicle
- Have been convicted of driving any vehicle recklessly more than once
- Have been convicted of driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL more than once
- Have violated a law regarding mobile and texting while driving more than once
These qualifications are designed to ensure that only responsible drivers are operating large trucks. However, as you can see, some of these rules are surprisingly lax.
How Do Inexperienced Truck Drivers Cause Crashes?
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study undertaken by the FMCSA examined rollovers specifically. These are some of the most deadly crashes.
The top causes of these truck accidents are:
- Failing to adjust speed for curves in roads
- Being inattentive
- Not steering enough to stay in lane
- Failing to take into account load weight
As you can see, all of these causes of truck accidents can be avoided with training and experience.
Are Young Truck Drivers More Dangerous?
The short answer is yes. Inattentiveness and distracted driving are the number one causes of truck accidents. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, teens up to age 20 are more likely to have problems paying attention while driving. When you consider the long hours that truck drivers put in, it is easy to see why this makes younger drivers more dangerous.
Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 12% of all drivers in police-reported crashes in 2020 were drivers under the age of 20, even though they only made up 5.1% of all drivers. Clearly, younger, more inexperienced drivers of any type are more dangerous on the roads.
Are Inexperienced Drivers Liable in a Truck Accident?
Liability in truck accidents is complicated. If the driver was brought on by a motor carrier as part of the pilot program and they failed to ensure that the driver met the required training and experience before putting them on the road alone, the trucking company could be liable.
However, if the truck driver acted negligently, such as speeding or breaking other laws, the truck driver could be liable. In either case, the trucking company’s insurance policy will pay out on the claim.
Contact Truck.Law Today for Assistance
Inexperienced truck drivers are only going to become more common, but there are things that motor carriers can do to mitigate the risk. When motor carriers fail to act responsibly, including choosing responsible drivers, they could be liable for damages.
It is best to contact an attorney if you have been in a truck accident, regardless of the cause. Truck accidents are complex and multiple parties may be at fault. Contact Truck.Law today to be matched with an attorney in your area.