Negligent Truck Driver Training and Hiring

Drivers who operate large trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds are required to pass a commercial driver’s license (CDL) exam. Earning a CDL helps ensure that truck drivers have the basic skills needed to safely operate large vehicles. Trucking companies must ensure that drivers are qualified to operate large trucks and ensure they received the proper training to do so. Unfortunately, negligent truck driver training and hiring by some companies puts others on the road at risk.

What kind of guidelines must a trucking company follow when hiring truck drivers?

Federal law requires trucking companies to conduct driving record checks before hiring prospective drivers. If the trucking company fails to follow these standards – which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Handbook clearly outlines – they can be liable for a truck accident caused by a driver they hired who did not meet the standards.

If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a commercial truck, you must prove that the truck driver and/or the trucking company are liable. While a company is often vicariously liable for its employee’s actions, there are also cases where a trucking company is directly negligent and liable for damages, such as if it hired unqualified truck drivers.

Below are some scenarios that can help you establish a trucking company is directly liable for the accident.

  • The truck driver was unfit to operate the large truck or has a history of poor driving, indicating incompetence.
  • The truck driver failed to thoroughly check the driver’s qualifications.
  • The trucking company had notice of the driver’s previous acts or incompetence, or should have known of it.

Further, a company could be liable for negligent retention if it knew or should have known that a driver already on its roster was incompetent or dangerous, yet still allowed the driver to operate the truck.

What qualifications does someone need to be a truck driver?

To be a truck driver, one needs a valid commercial driver’s license, clean driving record, and in some cases may need to pass a background check. For specialized driving, such as transporting hazardous materials, a driver must have an endorsement. To obtain endorsement for hazardous materials, an applicant must meet the following requirements.

  • Pass a test and background check
  • Get fingerprinted
  • Present proof of residency

Any company that hires a driver who does not meet these basic qualifications could be liable if that driver later causes a wreck.

John Morrison Can Help Identify When Negligent Training Contributed to Your Accident

Establishing that a driver did not have adequate training often requires substantial evidence. In helping you prove your case, we may seek access to information that the driver’s employer holds. This may include information from the truck’s onboard recording device, employee hiring records, training certifications, and truck maintenance logs.

You have the right to an attorney to assist you with gathering evidence, filing an injury claim, and pursuing compensation for damages you suffered in an accident with a commercial truck. Call the Law Offices of John Morrison at 770-951-8900 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your rights after a serious truck accident.