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Do Commercial Truck Drivers Receive Enough Training in 2021?

Do truckers get enough training?


Millions of miles are logged on U.S. roads each year by big rig operators, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Indeed, Texas is one of the top three states when it comes to the number of semi-truck miles logged on roadways annually.

About Truckers Training and Accidents

In addition to the ubiquitous nature of commercial trucks currently, semis are large, sophisticated vehicles. Training is required to properly operate an 80,000-pound motor vehicle, which often is moving at speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour. The reality is that some view training associated with becoming a commercial truck driver as being too limited. On average, a commercial truck driver undergoes only about four to five weeks of training and they are just not adequately prepared to drive safely.

Driver Error a Major Factor in Truck Accidents

There has been a growing amount of research into the underlying causes of commercial truck accidents. According to some researchers, the reason for upwards to 90 percent of severe semi accidents is some driver error or mistake. There may be other factors that compound an operator’s error. However, driver mistake is nearly always a prime contributing factor when it comes to a commercial truck accident.

Often, a driver receives training from a truck driving school. Most truck driving schools cover topics that include legal compliance, safe operating procedures, map reading, and trip planning. There regularly are concerns expressed that shortcuts exist when it comes to the training process. In other words, prospective drivers and truck companies are eager to get operators onto roadways for financial reasons.

Today in 2021 we have a severe shortage of truck drivers. Such that motor carriers are desperate to get drivers behind the wheel. The shortage and inexperience will lead to many fatal truck accidents.

The nature and extent of training for a commercial truck driver raise a couple of critical questions when an accident occurs because of truck driver negligence. First, after an accident that appears to be the fault of a driver, an examination must occur about training. The investigation must focus on whether a driver satisfied all the training requirements. We have found in some of the severe injury accidents our semi-truck accident lawyers have handled that employers often skip or do not fully comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations applicable to hiring drivers.

Second, following a commercial truck accident, a valid question is whether the training required of a particular driver is sufficient. A truck driving school usually follows what is known as the U.S. Department of Transportation Proposed Minimum Standards for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers. This scheme requires 150 hours of basic semi-truck training. It also requires a 150-hour externship and 80 hours of advanced training.

Training Often Found Inadequate

Following a truck accident in which the rig operator appears to have caused the accident, a post-collision investigation must include an exploration of his or her training. This inquiry consists of an examination of records associated with the training process. The investigation must also include a consideration of whether the training provided comports with the federal scheme. And if the company cut corners.

This investigation needs to initiate immediately following a commercial truck accident. Unfortunately, in a surprising number of cases each year, records associated with a driver’s training are doctored in the aftermath of an accident to provide a more favorable picture of actual training that occurred. Consulting the best attorney for a trucking accident early after the crash is advisable.

Truck Crashes Are Often Fatal

A recent study determined that 11% of all fatal crashes involve big rigs. And predictably, most deaths are the occupants of a passenger vehicle. A whopping 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes stemmed from a tractor-trailer collision. Given the injury potential of a big rig crash, proper training is a must to protect us all. Unfortunately, given the shortage of drivers there is a push to relax training requirements for trucking companies.

Shortage of Drivers

Given the seriousness of accidents with big rigs, training of new drivers takes on increased importance. The lack of sufficient training is heightened by the shortage of truck drivers, making putting the drivers available to work as soon as possible the option of choice by most Motor Carriers.

An ATA study estimated a truck driver shortage of 48000 drivers in the U.S. The lack of qualified drivers leads to cutting corners in training to get the driver on the road. Trucking companies have even taken to advertising for drivers on the radio and television. A more recent study highlights the issue of not enough drivers for trucking companies.

Push to Relax the Safety Rules

Currently there is a big push to relax the safety rules that applies to driver training and safety. This requires a fine balance on the part of lawmakers involve protecting the public and ensuring that our goods can be delivered for the needs of Americans. I suggest that the issue about lack of truck drivers is best left to the marketplace and that truck drivers receive more pay to increase their numbers. Having inexperienced drivers on the road is a prescription for disaster for safety in America.

Violations Are Discovered in Lawsuits

It is common after a severe injury or fatal truck crash that authorities conduct an expensive investigation into the cause of the crash. However, safety violations are often uncovered only after an experienced truck accident attorney has filed a lawsuit, obtained discovery, and spent countless hours studying the evidence. Driver qualification files and the full employment file are necessary for the inquiry. Additionally, research on the driver, his driving record, other infractions and what was done by the company to insure their driver was safe are all needed.

Speak with a Real Trucking Accident Lawyer

After an accident with a big rig, a skilled, experienced semi accident attorney can best ensure that a proper investigation of a commercial truck driver’s training occurs.

Call us and our undefeated truck accident lawyers in TX will schedule an initial consultation with you at no charge to discuss your case. We have been helping victims of commercial vehicle collisions for over three decades and want to help you!


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Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.