A prime factor in the number of 18 wheeler accidents that occur on our highways today is a lack of driver training. Drivers take to the roads every day with minimal experience in handling these huge, heavy vehicles.
Although this may seem surprising to you, truck accident attorneys know this is a sad reality that contributes to 18 wheeler wrecks every year. There is no requirement of road training to become licensed to drive a big rig.
How to Get A Commercial Driver’s License
To drive a big rig with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), all you must do is pass the written test and a health exam - that’s it. This is the problem that many in the commercial carrier industry such as trucking companies, drivers, and truck accident attorneys who represent those injured in 18 wheeler accidents find to be responsible for a high number of crashes.
Crash studies support the idea that new drivers without enough behind-the-wheel experience are responsible for a disproportionate number of 18 wheeler wrecks. The industry as a whole is demanding more training.
Why Are There No Training Requirements?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that is responsible for creating traffic safety rules and regulations in the United States, there are no behind- the-wheel training requirements because they do not make financial sense within the industry.
The Administration states that there is little evidence that requiring training before a driver can get behind the wheel of a big rig provides many benefits. The FMCSA estimates that 30 hours of required behind the wheel training would result in only a 3.6% reduction in new driver 18 wheeler wrecks and would cost the industry much more.
Industry Advocates Opposed to Federal Stance
In direct opposition to the FMCSA’s stance on required behind-the-wheel training, many industry safety groups and most trucking companies stress the exact opposite. They cite research that suggests younger and inexperienced drivers aged 19 to 20 years and without proper training are found to be considerably more likely to be involved in fatal 18 wheeler accidents.
These groups and individuals have doggedly petitioned for the FMCSA to require at least 30 hours and preferably as many as 55 hours of mandatory on-the-road training for licensing. These pleas continue to go unanswered.
Even though more than 30 states already require a minimum number of on the road hours for licensing, it is not a federal requirement. As a result, truck accident attorneys and safety advocates acknowledge that there are still too many untrained drivers on the road.
What Can Be Done?
So what can be done to reduce the number of 18 wheeler wrecks caused by a lack of driver experience? While advocates continue to petition the FMCSA to make on-the-road training a requirement for CDL licensing, truck accident attorneys stress that drivers should take training into their own hands.
If you are want to become a big rig driver, enroll in one of the CDL training schools throughout the country that can provide essential big rig training. You will gain vital behind-the-wheel training needed to have a long and safe career driving tractor trailers while helping reduce 18 wheeler accidents!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190