Large truck accidents occur in a variety of ways. But their outcomes are usually the same: Other motorists sustain catastrophic injuries or die in collisions with these behemoth trucks. The causes of such accidents often are attributed to truck drivers, truck driving companies and their sub-contractors.
These accidents – some of which are preventable — range from fatigue, substance abuse and distracted driving to poorly maintained vehicles not properly loaded or have defective parts. However, do not overlook the experience – or lack of it – from a truck driver, who may have been rushed through training or hired without having the proper credentials.
Are the skills there yet?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a shortage of truck drivers existed. During this pandemic, truck drivers were deemed essential employees, hauling freight from coast to coast to ensure that Americans stayed fed, clothed and supplied.
The need for new drivers has been critical within the trucking industry. With a sudden surge in business, some trucking companies are in a rush to get operations going, they may greenlight newly licensed truck drivers who just do not have the complete skill set yet.
But these trucking companies know better.
Specialized training, responsible trucking companies
To become a truck driver, candidates must complete training to secure a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This is specialized training. Drivers and the companies that hire them must understand that laws are in place to ensure improved safety for all motorists. Such laws include the length of time a person can drive a large truck each day as well as how long drivers can work in each state.
The training usually begins with classroom learning that may include understanding driver’s requirements, critical rules of the road as well as federal and state laws. Once a prospective driver passes classroom learning, he or she receives a permit that allows them to train in driving these large trucks, weighing nearly three tons.
Truck drivers must prove that they can handle driving these large vehicles, while safely maneuvering them on roads. And truck driving companies must make sure that they hire properly trained drivers who have learned from licensed training and driving instructors. These companies cannot take shortcuts and retain drivers educated by someone who has never driven a truck.