Truck Accident Licensing Fraud Lawyers in Austin
Truckers Could Be Under-Qualified
A problem that has recently become a bit of an epidemic in the trucking industry is licensing fraud. It may be hard to believe, but it is estimated that thousands of drivers on the road operating huge commercial vehicles could actually be without the proper training and licensing. These types of vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. A regular passenger vehicle can pose an incredible risk, so think about how much more of a safety concern it is to have an inexperienced driver driving an 80,000 pound vehicle. So far, arrests have been made in 13 states and investigations are pending in 24 others.
How is it even possible for under-qualified drivers to get their licenses? The situations are different in each case. Some drivers purchase their licenses. In order to be hired as a truck driver for any business, you must show proof that you have the proper licensing. Many drivers give false licenses that employers fail to give a closer look. This could mean that employers of these under-qualified drivers are liable as well. Employers should be conducting thorough investigations of all of their drivers before they hire them, in order to decrease their liability. Other drivers were going through corrupt programs in which test administrators passed drivers who would not have otherwise passed. It is likely that they were given a monetary bribe in order to ensure that certain drivers passed their tests.
Driver Qualifications: CDL Licensing Program
In order to become a legitimate truck driver, you must go through a commercial driver’s licensing program administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Prior to 1986, anyone who possessed a regular driver’s license could also operate a large commercial vehicle such as a bus or an 18-wheeler. Then, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was signed into law. This happened because a need was seen for specialized training for drivers of commercial vehicles. This act significantly decreased the number of injuries and fatalities that occurred annually as a result of large vehicles. Three major things that the act addressed were: drivers with CDLs could not possess any other license, states had to adequately provide programs and train those who wanted to drive commercial vehicles and there had to be minimum licensing standards for each state.
There are three classes of licenses, which means that even if a driver has a CDL, then may still be under-qualified to drive if they do not hold a class of license that matches the type of vehicle that they drive. There are Class A, B and C licenses. There are also additional endorsements that could be added to each license. These endorsements are additional qualifications that drivers of specialized vehicles may be required to have. For example, there are endorsements for school bus drivers, hazardous material drivers and tank vehicles. For a complete list of qualifications, please visit the FMCSA’s CDL qualifications page. An accident investigation will reveal if the cause of your accident was a driver with a lack of the proper license. There are strict qualifications in the trucking industry, and if an employer failed to enforce them or an employee failed to execute them and that resulted in the injury or death of another, then the trucking company can and should be held liable. Call Zinda Law Group today to speak with a personal injury lawyer regarding your case. Call 800-863-5312.