In the United States, commercial truck drivers are required to have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) in order to operate a tractor-trailer. However, some safety advocates continue to argue that the current testing requirements are not sufficient enough to ensure that all truck drivers on the road are safe and competent.
Minimum Requirements for Obtaining a CDL
Currently, truck drivers who are seeking to obtain their CDL have to accomplish only two things. Applicants must pass both written and skills tests, which vary from state to state.
The written test covers topics such as traffic laws and regulations, trucking laws and regulations, and basic skills such as turning, backing up, and coupling/uncoupling trailers. The skills test involves a vehicle inspection and a basic road/control test. It is worth noting that both tests only cover the basics.
No Requirement for Hours Behind-the-Wheel
In 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a ruling that required the above CDL qualifications to be met; however, it did not make any mention of required hours behind-the-wheel. While it was suggested in an initial proposal, the FMCSA backtracked, instead leaving it to the training providers to determine a new trucker's proficiency.
Criticisms for Not Doing Enough
The FMCSA is responsible for regulating the trucking industry and promoting safety on our nation's roads. However, the FMCSA has come under fire in recent years (and rightly so) for not doing enough to prevent accidents involving large trucks. Critics argue that the FMCSA has failed to adequately enforce its safety regulations, resulting in an increase in fatal accidents.
In addition, the agency has been criticized for not doing enough to train and educate truck drivers about safe driving practices. As a result, many people believe that the FMCSA is not doing enough to promote trucking safety. While the agency has taken some steps to improve safety, more needs to be done to reduce the number of accidents involving large trucks.
What Can be Done to Promote Safety?
The trucking industry has been plagued by a series of high-profile accidents in recent years, raising concerns about the safety of truck drivers. One way to improve safety on the nation's highways is to implement more extensive and comprehensive training programs for truck drivers. Currently, most trucking companies only require their drivers to complete a brief orientation program before getting behind the wheel. However, this is not enough to ensure that drivers are fully prepared for the task at hand.
Drivers need to be trained not only in the operation of their vehicles, but also in the proper procedures for loading and unloading cargo, as well as in defensive driving techniques. Only by providing comprehensive training can the trucking industry hope to improve its safety record and protect both its drivers and the motoring public.
How Wallace Pierce Law Can Help Following a Trucking Accident
At Wallace Pierce Law, we understand the devastation that trucking accidents can cause. These accidents often result in serious injuries or even death, and they can leave victims and their families feeling overwhelmed and alone. We believe that no one should have to face this type of situation without experienced legal representation. Our team of trucking accident lawyers has extensive experience handling these complex cases, and we will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. We will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.
If you were involved in a trucking accident, call us today at (919) 887-7892 or fill out our form online for a free consultation!