Are CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) Requirements Enough?
All truckers are required to go through several weeks of training in order to meet the requirements of a commercial driver’s license. While that may at first seem like a reasonable training requirement needed to operate a commercial truck, closer scrutiny of training content and its efficacy in reducing accidents has caused some to reconsider how truck drivers attain the credentials needed to operate their vehicles.
Truck Driver Training
In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license, prospective truckers must fulfill several requirements that include:
- A CDL permit must be obtained to train in a commercial vehicle. To obtain one, you must pass several written tests as well as a basic eye examination
- There are also several CDL “endorsements” which are special circumstance certifications for things such as “hazardous materials transport” and “passenger transport”. In order to obtain an endorsement, you must pass the standard CDL written and skill tests as well as skill and written tests specific to the endorsement
- In the state of Florida, a CDL driving test must be passed in which the driver completes a 2 part exam that includes a knowledge and skills test. Once the skills test has been passed, a driver can be issued a CDL license from the State of Florida. A person can take both tests at either a Florida Department of Driver Services or approved 3rd party testing site.
In order meet these requirements, prospective truckers will typically enroll in a trucking school that will train them for three to four weeks in order to pass the tests needed for a commercial drivers license.
Is Trucker Training Sufficient to Prevent Truck Accidents?
In the face of all the training and testing required to get a commercial driver’s permit, there are still an overwhelming number of truck accidents that occur in the U.S.. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a total of 3,986 people were killed in truck accidents in 2016 indicating a steady growing trend in the fatality rate for the past few years. There are a great deal of variables that can factor into truck accident like distractions, fatigue, and driver error but the training required to operate a trucking rig is supposed to be sufficient in order to avoid things like this.
Truck Driver Training Schools
After a trucking accident where the operator seems to be at fault, there is an investigation that evaluates whether or not the truck operator had sufficient training in avoiding the negligent behavior that led to the accident and if they satisfy all the necessary training requirements to operate their vehicle.
These investigations will often find their way to the truck driving schools where negligent drivers received their training. A truck driving school will usually follow what is known as the U.S. Department of Transportation Proposed Minimum Standards for Training Tractor Trailer Drivers. This requires 150 hours of basic semi-truck training. It also requires a 150-hour externship and 80 hours of advanced training.
Cut Corners in Truck Training
An investigation into the training quality of a truck operator responsible for an accident should take place immediately following an accident. What is concerning, is that there are a startling amount of cases where trucker training schools and companies have manipulated documents in order to make it look like truckers whose training is in question, have much better looking training records than in reality.
Some schools have come under intense suspicion of cutting corners in training in order to get prospective truckers certified sooner. By skipping over certain topics, not logging enough hours of practice, and failing to ensure the retention of the learned material, the act of cutting corners is exceedingly dangerous for everyone including the truck driver.
Truck Drivers Want to be Certified as Soon as Possible
The issue is that these trucking schools only train for the most minimum of requirements in order to meet the necessary standards rather than training drivers to the best possible ability so that they do not endanger anyone.
This is mostly due to the fact that truck drivers have come into incredibly high demand as of late. The American Truckers Associations (ATA) has stated that there is a shortage of approximately 50,000 truck drivers in the United States. Drivers want to get onto the road and earning as soon as possible while training schools want to get their as many truckers as possible certified.
In fact, there are a surprising amount of trucking companies that will have their own schools where they will train new drivers as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can get on the road and driving quickly.
Ineffectual Truck Driving Training
Proper training is required to properly operate an 80,000-pound commercial truck, which often is moving at speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour. Such a vehicle can cause unprecedented amounts of damage in the event of a single mistake.
In trucking schools there is a much higher emphasis on the theoretical rather than the practical side of trucking education. The majority of training is done in the classroom rather than in the actual cab of a truck.
With the exodus of baby boomer truckers and influx of fresh inexperienced ones, there is a massive issue of thousands of inexperienced truckers on the roads. Most have had only had the minimum required time behind the actual wheel and not always in the busy highway setting where their skills will be tested.
Contact an experienced Florida truck accident attorney
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a commercial truck related accident then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law group for legal consultation. Our experienced lawyers have a long history of successful claims made against negligent companies. Have our Lawyers assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for any damages you have received.
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