The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

Do semitruck drivers get enough training to be safe?

It can be quite nerve-wracking to glance up into the rearview mirror and see a huge semitruck bearing down on your bumper. You can only hope that the driver has sufficient training and experience to avoid a catastrophic highway accident.

But do truckers get enough training before being turned loose on the roads? Certain factors currently affecting the trucking industry may mean that they don't.

Nationwide trucker shortage

In recent years, the trucking industry has faced a dearth of available and eligible drivers. As of two years ago, the industry lacked roughly 50,000 commercial truckers. When produce and goods don't timely get to their intended destinations, shortages result, which adversely affects not only the trucking industry but the American economy as a whole.

Companies forced to take risks

In order to meet the nationwide demand for truck drivers, trucking companies have been forced to rapidly teach and train new commercial drivers how to safely drive both long and short hauls. They must also learn how to haul double loads as well as singles, and for some, get certified to haul hazardous materials (hazmat).

Drivers lacking experience

Any trucker will tell you that there isn't a video or book in the world that can teach a neophyte driver how to haul a double load across the nation. That takes experience born of thousands of hours behind the wheel of a big rig — and experience is just what these newly minted drivers don't have.

An inexperienced driver may not understand the handling characteristics of different types of cargo. They could encounter scenarios on the freeway for which they are quite ill-prepared to effectively manage. The truckers could cut short corners, jackknife their rigs or sway into adjacent lanes and collide with traffic.

Size and weight disparity is dangerous

When a semitruck and a passenger vehicle collide on the freeway, the immense size and weight of the big rig loaded down with cargo makes no contest of the "winner." The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that annually, there are more than 5,000 highway fatalities and over 100,000 injuries in collisions with semitrucks. Of that total, it's estimated that 27 percent are attributable to inadequate driver training.

Fight back against untrained drivers

If you suffered injuries and other damages in an accident with a semitruck driver, the driver's lack of experience and training may have caused or significantly contributed to the accident. Learn more about how you can hold negligent truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them liable for your losses.

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