The attorneys of Murnane & O’Neill examine the factors that contribute to inadequate training of truck drivers, making them more prone to trucking accidents.
Trucks are dangerous and complicated vehicles that require a great deal of responsibility and understanding for proper use. Additionally, some trucks carry cargo that is hazardous if improperly contained, which can further increase the risk of injury or death as the result of a truck accident. A truck accident can potentially endanger not only the driver, but the surrounding motorists on the road as well. Due to these risks, it is imperative that truck drivers are extensively and properly trained.
Studies suggest that inadequate training is the cause of almost a third of truck driving accidents each year. If training practices were improved, many of these accidents could be prevented in the future. One of the reasons for the current inefficiency of truck driver training is driver shortage. The demand for new drivers has led truck driving companies to implement rushed and insufficient training practices. The new hastily trained drivers lack the experience needed to make quick, safe decisions when faced with dangerous situations during long journeys.
The state of Maryland requires individuals to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License in order to operate a commercial truck. Yet, extensive training is not required in order for individuals to obtain this license. The burden of requiring adequate training is therefore left to trucking companies who are often too overburdened to expand their training initiatives.
While there are certain programs that offer on-the-road instruction, many commercial truck drivers who seek out additional training will find that their education is limited to classroom-style instruction, an inadequate substitute for real-life scenarios.
Company training typically involves a week-long class, followed by several sessions of hands-on training with the truck. During these sessions, instructors explain the various functions of the vehicle’s operating system and share important information about vehicle malfunction, maintenance and safety. Companies that specialize in the transport of sensitive or hazardous cargo only hire drivers with a certain amount of time behind the wheel, but some companies require new drivers to immediately begin working without supervision.
The consequences of putting inexperienced and improperly trained truck drivers on the road are multi-fold. Commercial trucks are more difficult to control than two-axel vehicles, and therefore have the potential to cause multiple-vehicle accidents if an inexperienced driver loses control. Other motorists and the families of those involved in truck accidents may seek damages, for which trucking companies will be held liable. It is therefore vital that trucking companies evaluate their current training systems and expand their programs to ensure that only safe and confident drivers are operating their vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, or you have questions about legal representation in an auto or truck accident case, contact the offices of Murnane & O’Neill today.