To land a job with most companies, you must pass a background check and perhaps a drug screening.
You must also possess a certain level of skill and experience. If you lack experience, your employer may provide you with on-the-job training.
In short, very few professions allow you to just walk in on day one and get to work without some sort of training.
Driving a semi-truck or any large commercial vehicle is a lot different than driving a regular car. For one thing, semis have several large blind spots that can swallow up passing cars, preventing a truck driver from seeing it.
Truck drivers must also know how to properly maintain their vehicles, and how to maneuver out of dangerous situations on the road.
Even a brief downpour can make for hazardous driving conditions for truckers.
When truck companies hire inexperienced drivers, or fail to properly screen their drivers, they put everyone on the road at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may also have a claim against the truck company under a theory of negligent hiring.
Call an experienced Florida truck accident lawyer to discuss your case.
Negligent Hiring in the Trucking Industry
Many people are surprised to learn there are no state-mandated educational requirements for truck drivers in Florida.
To obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Florida, a prospective truck driver must pass a written test and a road test.
Drivers who wish to obtain special endorsements must pass additional tests. However, there is no formal education or training program required to test for a CDL.
Many truck companies operate their own trucking schools and prefer to hire graduates of their own programs.
Other trucking companies will not hire an applicant who has not attended a truck driving school, even if the applicant has a valid CDL in Florida.
Just because someone has a CDL and a diploma from a training program, however, does not mean that person is fit to drive a semi-truck.
Tipping the scales at 80,000 pounds, an out of control semi is a weapon on the road. It takes an incredibly responsible, skilled, and conscientious person to safely handle these massive vehicles.
Unfortunately, not all truck companies properly screen their drivers.
At a minimum, truck companies should perform background checks on all applicants. A thorough background check should include:
- Check the applicant’s CDL to ensure it is valid and current
- Investigate the applicant’s criminal background
- Determine if the applicant has ever been convicted of a drunk driving offense in any state
- Check the applicant’s name against the sex offender registry
- Require the applicant to take a drug screening
- Review the applicant’s health history
- Examine the applicant’s driving record
Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck companies to check an operator’s driving history in every state where he or she has held a CDL for the past three years.
If a driver has worked for an employer regulated by the Department of Transportation, truck companies must also investigate the driver’s safety performance history with these employers for the preceding three years.
Physical Screenings for Truck Drivers
Truck companies must also require their drivers to undergo a general physical to make sure applicants don’t have any health problems that could make them unsafe on the road.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that 28 percent of all commercial truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can make people extremely tired during waking hours.
Drivers must see a certified medical examiner authorized to perform Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals. DOT medical exams are valid for two years.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today
When truck companies cut corners by hiring inexperienced or dangerous drivers, it is innocent motorists who end up paying the price.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent truck driver, don’t hesitate to call a Florida truck accident.