Driver inexperience can cause truck accidents in many ways. In a large truck crash causation study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the experience—or lack thereof—of truck drivers involved in accidents was studied. The study found that a driver’s familiarity with the road, their vehicle, and standard procedures for avoiding an accident or responding to an inevitable crash all had an impact on truck accident rates and the resulting damages of an unavoidable accident.
Truck Drivers Must Be Properly Trained and Meet Other Federal Standards
To land a job as a truck driver, you must:
- Obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL): The requirements for a CDL vary from state to state, but you may need one or more years of noncommercial driving experience, proof of ID, and proof of residence to apply for this license. Also, to receive a CDL, you may also have to have no suspensions or revocations on your driving record and pass medical, written, and road tests.
- Attend a truck driving school: This is not a hard and fast rule, but many trucking jobs require formal training.
- Have a clean driving record: Many employers will not hire truck drivers who have strikes, suspensions, or revocations on their records.
- Be at least 18 years old: Some jurisdictions may require you to be at least 21 years old, especially if interstate driving is involved.
- Pass a drug and alcohol test: Failure to pass a drug and alcohol test may prevent you from getting hired as a truck driver or potentially fired from a company that already employs you.
Truck Drivers Must Learn Certain Skills to Be Qualified
Truck drivers may expect to learn the following if they pursue truck driving school:
- Basic road safety: They will learn how to drive safely, what rules apply to truck drivers but not to other road users, how to look out for smaller vehicles, and what traffic and road safety laws they must know to be a safe and conscientious driver.
- How to perform pre-trip inspections: Conducting regular and standardized pre-trip inspections are a critical part of safe truck driving. Drivers must inspect their vehicles before boarding them, and they and their service or maintenance team should check the truck’s tires, engine, body, lights and mirrors, and any loaded cargo.
- How to maintain a logbook: Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date logbook is required by law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determines the hours of service drivers are allowed to put in within a given timeframe. Not following these guidelines is not only dangerous–it is illegal.
- Handling cargo: Drivers must learn how to handle cargo, hazardous materials, and how to secure and store materials.
- Coupling and uncoupling the cab or trailer: Coupling and uncoupling the cab or trailer to a rig is something drivers will do countless times during their careers. Doing it the right way, which is the safe way, is also something drivers must learn in truck driver school.
- Tight maneuvers: Being able to maneuver a truck safely in tight quarters is an important part of truck driving. Drivers must learn about driving around small towns, taking tight turns, backing up, and other maneuver challenges.
With all of the above in mind, it is clear how driver inexperience can cause truck accidents. A driver who is unfamiliar with safe driving rules may not know how to perform a pre-trip inspection, correctly couple a trailer, or properly secure cargo to the trailer of the truck. Because of a lack of training, they may inadvertently cause an accident while operating their truck on the road.
While going to trucking school can be both a time and financial investment, the education it provides a truck driver can be invaluable and help them avoid accidents in the long run. Knowing how to drive a truck properly can be the difference between avoiding an accident, having an accident but minimizing its damage, and having a catastrophic accident.
Other Factors May Contribute to Who Is at Fault for a Truck Accident
Liability and fault for truck accidents do not always fall on the truck driver. Road damage that leads to an accident may be the fault of a road repair crew or a civic municipality responsible for maintaining roads in a certain area. A truck malfunction or breakdown may be the fault of a service team or a truck owner. If the actions of other road users cause or contribute to a truck accident, those drivers may be at fault for your accident.
However, a lack of experience, training, and proper licensing are forms of negligence. If a driver causes an accident because of a lack of training or improper licensing, they might be held liable for the damages caused by any resultant damages.
Call the Fitch Law Firm, LLC, Today for Legal Guidance
Call the Fitch Law Firm, LLC, today at (614) 545-3930 for assistance with a truck driving accident case. Driver inexperience can cause truck accidents in many ways. We can help you understand how the accident you were involved in was caused so that you can seek damages or rebut claims against you. Call us today to learn more.