As you are driving down the highway, those commercial trucks weighing 25 to 50 times the size of your vehicle may be driven by operators who spent only 10 hours in a classroom and none on the road before receiving their license, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
Despite being ordered twice by Congress to come up with training requirements for commercial truck drivers, the Transportation Department has yet to do so. This has caused a group of safety advocates and the Teamsters union to sue the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in federal court, saying the agency has dragged its feet on the long-overdue rules for over 20 years.
While overall automobile fatalities in the United States have decreased in recent years, deaths and injuries involving large trucks have been rising for a total of 4,000 deaths and 70,000 injuries in 2012. An additional 200,000 accidents with large trucks caused damage but no injuries, according to Transportation Department data.
Meanwhile, the drivers of these 60-80 ton vehicles spend barely more than a day in the classroom for training after they complete the relatively simple process of getting a commercial driver’s license.
“They pass a written test, drive a truck around the parking lot for 10 minutes to get their C.D.L. and they’re basically able to go out,” said Henry Jasny, general counsel at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “That’s just not acceptable.”
Truck drivers who do not get enough sleep, drive for too long, are distracted when driving and are simply poor drivers are a significant causes of severe injuries and wrongful death from accidents every day.
If you feel that unsafe driving factors exhibited by truck drivers led to a major accident which impacted your family’s life, please contact the experienced attorneys of Crandall & Pera Law.