Unqualified Truck Drivers? They Cause Most Car Accidents

Colorado Springs Truck Crash

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

April 8, 2022

Top Rated Truck Accident Attorneys

Driving in Colorado Springs might seem like one huge exercise in avoiding enormous trucks at times. They’re all over the place, cluttering Powers Blvd.,, taking up space on I-25, rolling through neighborhoods like Briargate and Gleneagle, and impeding traffic downtown.

The majority of us have never sat behind the wheel of a giant truck, so we can only imagine how tough it must be to drive such vast, intricate, and sometimes hazardous equipment. But we’re at ease knowing that the trucker behind the wheel of the big rig next to us on the tollway has the proper license, expertise, and experience to keep us safe.

This isn’t always the case, though. Indeed, truck drivers should have the necessary training and certifications to drive safely on Colorado Springs highways. For transporting their goods, they must obtain the appropriate license and endorsement.

They should have a fundamental understanding of driving in a broad range of scenarios. Many others, though, don’t. Unqualified truckers travel the roads and byways near Colorado Springs daily, and their lack of expertise often leads to major accidents.

Truck Drivers’ Minimum Requirements

Although truckers are required to have certain criteria, some do not. A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, is the most fundamental certification, and it should reassure everyone that you have the abilities necessary to properly operate a truck.

Obtaining and maintaining a CDL is no simple task.

CDLs aren’t given out like candy at Halloween. To get one, you must devote a significant amount of time and effort, and you must continue to satisfy fundamental standards to maintain your CDL’s validity.

So, How Do Inexperienced Truck Drivers Get on the Road?

Getting your CDL does not necessarily guarantee you know what you’re doing behind the wheel of every truck you’re licensed to drive or in every road, weather, or other driving circumstance you’ll come across.

It does not necessarily imply that drivers and transportation businesses adhere to the regulations. Here are a few reasons why that truck in the next lane on the 610 Loop may have an inexperienced driver in the cab.

Simply put, there is a shortage of experience.

Are you truly qualified to drive if you go back to the day you earned your driver’s license as a kid?

The majority of us would say absolutely, “Hell no!” to that question, which is why the prospect of our children driving for the first time scares us to death. It’s great to pass a multiple-choice exam, learn how to parallel park, and check your blind areas. It’s one thing to know what’s what in heavy traffic, blinding rain, or any of the other challenging situations that Colorado Springs drivers experience every day.

For truckers, it’s no different. It’s a no-brainer who you’d prefer to share the road with if you had the option between a driver who just obtained their CDL yesterday and one who has had it for 15 years.

True learning happens on the road, presumably (but not always) under situations that do not result in an accident. As a result, a significant number of truckers on Colorado Springs’ roadways will be inexperienced, prone to making errors that (hopefully) do not result in death or injury.

It’s not a pleasant concept, to be sure. But, like it or not, that’s the fact.

A Critical Trucker Shortage

Truck drivers are in short supply around the nation. A manpower shortage has plagued the trucking sector for years. Transportation businesses just cannot find enough drivers for large rigs, an issue that will only worsen as the economy expands and demand for trucking services rises.

What’s causing the scarcity of truck drivers?

There are two major reasons for this.

It is a job that is not very appealing. It’s difficult to persuade individuals to desire to work as long-haul truck drivers, especially with unemployment at record lows. Long and erratic hours are the norm. The profession demands a high level of focus and competence, yet it is also sedentary and (often) dull.

A slew of regulations binds you. For lengthy periods, you’re separated from your family and home. Many trucking businesses prefer that you work as an independent contractor, which means you won’t be eligible for health insurance or retirement benefits. Overall, trucking does not hold up well in an already tight labor market.

There are recruitment issues. A trucker’s median age is 46, and the median age at some large private trucking companies is over 50. You’ll have higher-than-average attrition rates if your workforce is older than average. Your employees are approaching retirement and have reached the age when health problems are serious concerns.

That’s a real issue if you can’t find people to take their place at the same rate—which the trucking industry hasn’t been able to do so far. For starters, it has a disadvantage in that most long-haul trucking jobs require a minimum age of 21, whereas other industries can hire and train 18- to 20-year-olds.

For another thing, it isn’t particularly appealing to females. Women make up less than 7% of truck drivers, implying that the industry only recruits from half of the workforce.

In the end, trucking is a difficult profession to fill, and the trucking business does a poor job of it. And this is a serious issue that affects not only trucking companies but also the general public. It means that trucking companies are under pressure to hire anyone they can and that they (and the entire industry) have an incentive to cut corners whenever possible.

This could imply putting an inexperienced driver behind the wheel. It may imply a reduction in money and time spent on driver education. You may have to lower your hiring standards. It could simply imply breaking the law and failing to meet the minimum requirements.

As a result, more unqualified drivers are behind the wheel of large trucks, resulting in more dangerous truck accidents.

Trucker Rule Violations

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which the trucking industry is regulated by, about 20% of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents each year do not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). They are driving large trucks, although they do not meet the most basic requirements. It’s against the law, but it happens all the time, and it’s deadly.

Not only that but there’s more. After obtaining a CDL, many truckers fail to maintain their qualifications. It can happen in a variety of ways. They may work for a trucking company that does not place a high priority on maintaining their certification and training due to a labor shortage.

They may develop disqualifying medical conditions that they choose not to disclose. They could break the hours-of-service rules, be disqualified, and still drive. They might develop substance abuse problems that make it difficult to drive. And so forth.

Although trucking is a heavily regulated industry, that does not mean that everyone who works in it adheres to the rules. Truckers break the rules, employers turn a blind eye, and accidents occur as a result.

Accidents involving unqualified truck drivers in Colorado Springs

So, how serious is the problem of unqualified truck drivers in Colorado Springs? To put it another way: According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Crash Records Information System, there were 1,254 tractor-trailer crashes on Colorado Springs roads last year, or more than three per day (CRIS).

That is solely due to tractor-trailer collisions. It excludes box trucks, delivery trucks, and various other trucks that pass through Colorado Springs daily and cause accidents. A third of the collisions resulted in injuries and deaths, most of which were caused by people other than the truck driver (usually car drivers and passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists).

How many of those collisions were caused by a truck driver who lacked the necessary qualifications? It’s difficult to say for sure, but we’re guessing it’s a large number because the reality is that many truckers, even those with a CDL, lack the qualifications necessary to stay safe behind the wheel (and some do not). Accidents result from trucker errors, and unqualified truckers make more mistakes than others.

As a result, we can confidently state that unqualified truck drivers cause many problems and injuries on Colorado Springs roads. And we’re talking about major trouble and life-altering trauma. Compared to a car accident, a truck accident causes exponentially more damage and destruction. Trucks are the heaviest and largest cars on the road. When they collide with smaller cars, they cause massive damage. They also dump cargo onto the road, obstructing traffic and causing secondary collisions.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer in Colorado Springs Can Assist Victims

If you’ve read thus far, you already know how difficult it is to drive a heavy truck. We also need truckers because they provide a critical service to our economy.

However, this does not mean it is ever acceptable for an unqualified driver to operate a large truck in Colorado Springs or elsewhere. It’s unethical, dangerous, and it costs people their lives. Anyone involved in an accident caused by an inexperienced truck driver should be held responsible.

That is precisely what truck accident injury attorneys do. They represent victims of truck accidents in Colorado Springs in legal actions seeking compensation for the devastating harm caused by inexperienced truck drivers.

Who is responsible for paying that money? Anyone in Colorado whose careless or wrongful actions contributed to placing an unqualified truck driver behind the wheel of a large and deadly car. This can include the truck driver, the trucking company, a temp agency, third-party CDL examiners, and anyone else who might skimp on safety and training, lie about qualifications, disregard regulations, and certification requirements, or turn a blind eye when rules are broken.

Today, speak with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Colorado Springs.

There is no excuse for allowing unqualified truck drivers to take to the roads in and around Colorado Springs, endangering everyone. If you or an immediate member of your family has been injured in a truck accident caused by an inexperienced truck driver, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. For a free, no obligation consultation about your rights and choices, contact a truck accident injury lawyer in Colorado Springs.

 

 

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