What Are Truck Driver Training Requirements?
Posted on January 2022
Driving a big rig instead of a car or SUV is a great responsibility. These are not the kind of vehicles that you can just get in and drive. Truck drivers need to be properly trained before they get behind the wheel. Often, lack of proper training causes tractor-trailer accidents that can lead to serious or even life-threatening injuries.
While each individual state in the U.S. may set truck driver training requirements, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets out the minimum standards and requirements that all drivers who obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must meet. Keep in mind also that truck drivers are required to be trained by what’s called a “behind-the-wheel” instructor. The available instructors are named with the training provider registry.
The truck driver training requirements include instruction in the following four areas:
- The required medical certifications and medical examination procedures, as well as the responsibilities, qualifications, reasons for potential disqualifications, and what may cost them their driving privileges.
- The hours-of-service requirements, which are limitations on the hours a trucker can drive, rules for being off duty for a specific amount of time, continually updating and maintaining duty logs, and understanding all of the necessary fatigue countermeasures to avoid accidents.
- Truck driver wellness, including managing a healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding excessive alcohol use.
- Whistleblower protections, which are extended by law. Truckers have the right to call into question their employer’s safety practices when they think it’s necessary without fearing getting fired or being reprimanded.
Applying for a Commercial Driver’s License
The federal government requires training for entry-level drivers applying for a commercial driver’s license. Additionally, when applying for a commercial driver’s license, operators must meet specific requirements as determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Passing a background test that involves proving U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency, as well as verification that the trucker resides in their declared home state.
- Providing information about all the other states they’ve been licensed in over the past decade. They must also surrender any commercial learner’s permit and non-commercial driver’s license in the state. Also, the applicant must not be licensed in another state.
- Passing a knowledge and skills test in that same state. The 30-question written knowledge tests require a passing score of 80 percent or above. Applicants pass the skills tests by successfully performing assessments in a vehicle similar to the one they will routinely drive when working.
- Several jurisdictions also require passing a road test and a vehicle inspection.
- Certifying that the motor vehicle that was used for the test is comparable to the commercial truck they expect to drive.
What Can Happen When a Driver Is Improperly Trained?
When an improperly trained truck driver makes a mistake, it can have dangerous or even deadly consequences on the roadways. An experienced truck driver would know their truck like the back of their hand and should not make mistakes that can jeopardize human safety.
Here are some of the more common mistakes made by poorly trained truck drivers.
- Not properly securing the cargo load or verifying that it was secured properly. Commercial vehicles can weigh as much as 40 tons. If the truck is not loaded appropriately, weight imbalances can lead to accidents.
- Failing to maintain the correct cargo weight can also lead to problems including accidents.
- Not following the posted height restrictions. Truckers must be aware of height restrictions and the differing heights of bridges and underpasses, so the top of their vehicles do not crash into them.
- Having trouble maneuvering a curve or corner, which can cause turns to be too wide and result in accidents with vehicles sitting in traffic.
- Having trouble accelerating or decelerating when appropriate, as well as having difficulties driving the truck uphill or downhill.
- Being unable to properly identify mechanical problems with the truck. An inexperienced and improperly trained truck driver may not identify a problem with their vehicle that could literally cause an accident.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of a truck driver, contact DeMayo Law Offices at (877) 333-1000 to assist you. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries from those who were responsible. Our experienced team can review your case and investigate whether the accident was caused by an improperly trained truck driver. If you hire our North Carolina truck accident lawyers to represent you, you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we fight hard to get you the fair compensation you deserve.