The Dangers of Unqualified Truck Drivers

Collisions involving commercial trucks are some of the most catastrophic on the roads in New Jersey. The massive size of the average big rig can cause devastating damage to a smaller passenger car, along with severe and fatal injuries to car occupants. It is extremely important for the operators of large trucks to be fully qualified for this task. Otherwise, the driver may not know how to safely control the truck – leading to serious accidents.

What Makes a Truck Driver Unqualified?

An unqualified truck driver does not have the proper license, training and/or experience to safely operate a large commercial truck. This can put the driver and everyone else sharing the roadway with the unqualified driver at risk. Commercial trucks are not the same as standard passenger cars. There are many elements that make them more difficult to operate. These unique elements make it necessary for drivers to receive special training. They include:

  • Towing a trailer
  • Heavy vehicle weight
  • Large blind spots
  • Wide turns
  • Cargo shifting in transit
  • Hazardous cargo transportation
  • Slow speeds
  • Rollover risks
  • Air brakes
  • Longer stopping distance

Special truck driver training involves both written and skills tests, as well as acquiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A truck driver is unqualified if he or she does not have a CDL or has not been properly trained to operate a big rig. 

What Are the Dangers of an Unqualified Driver?

Ideally, no truck driver would operate a big rig without proper licensing and training. Unfortunately, issues such as the ongoing truck driver shortage have led many companies to put unqualified and inexperienced truck drivers behind the wheel. Unqualified drivers can increase the risk of truck accidents by making mistakes, such as:

  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Taking a turn too quickly
  • Failing to keep a proper lookout
  • Making an unsafe lane change
  • Merging on top of a passenger car
  • Using the incorrect braking technique 
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

An unqualified truck driver can pose a hazard on the road in many ways. Although it is important for every driver to have the proper licensing and training, it is especially important when the vehicle in question is as dangerous as a commercial truck.

Requirements and Laws for CDL in New Jersey

There are state and federal laws in place to prevent unqualified truck drivers from operating big rigs. In New Jersey, a driver must be at least 18 years old, have a standard New Jersey driver’s license, have at least 20/40 vision in each eye (with or without glasses), and be physically fit. To receive a CDL, the driver must also pass a written knowledge test and a driving skills test. This requires practice operating the commercial motor vehicle in question for at least 14 days.

There are also federal Commercial Driver’s License Standards. These govern alcohol and drug testing requirements, truck driving safety regulations, load securement rules, and more. Unfortunately, someone who wishes to operate a big rig could bypass these standards by cheating on the tests, working outside of the system to obtain CDL credentials, scamming a trucking company or falsifying medical records. In other cases, a trucking company could knowingly overlook incomplete qualifications in a rush to hire a new driver.

If you get involved in a truck accident and suspect that the fault lies with an unqualified or inexperienced truck driver, contact an attorney who specializes in truck accident law in Teaneck, New Jersey for legal assistance. If there is evidence that the truck driver is not qualified to be operating the big rig, this could serve as proof of the truck driver and/or truck company’s fault for your collision. This could make the company financially responsible for your related property damage and medical bills. Contact a Hackensack truck accident attorney today for more information about your crash.