Unqualified Truckers: A Danger to Motorists

Unqualified truckers present a danger to drivers and can easily cause crashes that can result in significant material damages, injuries, and deaths to other drivers or themselves. Major truck accidents kill anywhere from 2,800 to 3,000 people a year nationwide, on average, with around 88 occurring in Louisiana annually. With even light trucks weighing in at 10,000 pounds, and a fully-loaded truck easily weighing in at 80,000 pounds, a collision between one of these vehicles and a passenger vehicle is almost always fatal for the smaller vehicle.

If you’re a victim of a crash involving an unqualified trucker, it’s vital to know how they might have gotten behind the wheel to get the evidence you need to support your claim.

How Do Unqualified Truckers Get Behind the Wheel?

The first question you might have is how do unqualified truckers get behind the wheel of a vehicle in the first place. Unfortunately, while there are regulations in place designed to prevent this from happening, some cases do slip through the cracks. Here’s how:

The Driver Cheats on the Test

In order to become a qualified truck driver in Louisiana, a person must be 21 years of age and obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), unless they have a military waiver. There is a written portion of this test as well as a medical and hearing component. If a driver cheats on the written component of the test, they may not be fully aware of traffic laws governing the operation of their vehicle, and could easily get into an accident once they get on the road.

The Trucking Company Ignored the Rules

It can be easy for an unqualified driver to get behind the vehicle of a truck in the following situations:

  • The trucker is a family member or friend to staff members or owners
  • The trucker has the wrong CDL (or none at all)
  • The trucking company skipped a background check

It’s not uncommon for an unqualified driver with friends or family in a trucking company to get a job driving for it. A driver might not have their CDL or could have one for a different class of vehicle that they’re operating, and until there’s a problem, the trucking company might look the other way as they operate one of their vehicles. Trucking companies might skip the background check process in a desire to fill a staffing shortage, which impacts the entire industry and could bring in a driver with a bad record and a history of unsafe driving practices. If a trucker is unqualified, the odds are the company knows about it and is liable.

The Driver Falsified Their Medical Records

Trucking places enormous strains on the human body, with drivers forced to sit for hours-on-end and stay awake for extended periods. A driver who falsified their medical records could have a medical episode while on the road that contributes to their collision. They might also be hard of hearing, which can impact their ability to be aware of threats on the road and can contribute to an accident. If you’re in an accident, it’s important to review the driver’s medical history and the company’s own records of it.

Bottom Line

“According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration, there were 680 deaths in 2011, steadily increasing over time to 760 fatalities in 2017” (Source: https://onmyside.com/areas-we-serve/lafayette-la/truck-accident-lawyer/). A crash with an unqualified truck driver can easily prove fatal to those involved and can leave survivors in financial ruin as they face high medical bills, the loss of their vehicle, and potential lifelong injuries. If you find yourself facing this situation, a qualified truck accident lawyer can guide you through the process of pursuing your claim to help you obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled.

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