It would be nice to assume that all drivers are skilled and capable, but that would be naive. What is especially concerning, however, is the allegation that many commercial drivers behind the wheels of big rigs have not undergone adequate training.
Consider that these drivers are operating over-sized, heavy highway behemoths, some of which are loaded down with highly volatile cargo. Regulations mandate that commercial truckers be in possession of valid commercial driver's licenses. Yet, having a CDL is no guarantee that drivers don't pose safety risks.
To get a CDL, drivers have to perform both on the road and also in the classroom of truck driving schools. But neither setting completely prepares drivers for the open road and its myriad hazards.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that annually, over 3 million commercial big rigs traverse America's highways. With all of the miles they cover, accidents are inevitable – and are responsible for more than 100,000 injuries and 5,000 fatalities. These unfortunate losses happen for many different reasons such as speeding, overloading and distractions behind the wheel. Additionally, a study found that around 27 percent were directly attributed to inadequate driver training.
Part of the reason for the lack of sufficient truck driver training is that America has a shortage of eligible truck drivers right now. Nearly 50,000 commercial truckers are missing from the workforce. The shortfall has led to hurried trainings in order to get drivers road-ready and able to haul cargo.
Inexperienced truck drivers hauling double loads are particularly worrisome, as the handling characteristics aren't the same as with single loads. This can lead to rigs swaying on the highway into other lanes, jackknifing or cutting corners too short.
Trucking companies roll the dice on the risks they assume when truckers are inadequately trained for driving big rigs. Some figure paying out a few hefty settlements after highway deaths or permanently disabling injuries take their toll is just the cost of doing business in the 21st century. Retaining an Illinois personal injury attorney to fight for your right to compensation is one way to hold companies accountable for their safety gambles.
Source: Freeway Insurance, "Is Inadequate Training of Truck Drivers Putting Lives at Risk?," Pierre LeLong, accessed Oct. 21, 2016