Tractor trailers are huge, heavy vehicles that have become a Catch-22 on our highways today. They are the backbone of commerce in the U.S. and throughout the world; however, they are also the cause of many costly and even deadly semi truck accidents. These vehicles are much more difficult to operate than other vehicles, which makes driver training a critical yet often overlooked issue.
Most truck crash lawyers can attest to the fact that many drivers do not receive an adequate amount of training before they hit the road. As outlined below, all operators need specialized training before they can be licensed to drive a big rig. Unfortunately, some simply do not receive enough of the right kind of training.
Required Training for Standard CDL Licensing
Operating a tractor trailer is more challenging than operating any other vehicle on the road. These huge trucks are maneuvered differently than passenger cars or smaller trucks, requiring careful guidance and great skill to prevent truck crashes. Unfortunately, in most states almost anyone can apply for and receive a standard Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) without any specialized driver training. The requirements include only a 10-year clean driver history and the ability to pass a written test, a road skills test, as well as a health and eye examination.
Thankfully, many CDL applicants take it upon themselves to enroll in a CDL training school to receive instruction on the many intricacies of driving heavy trucks plus essential on-the-road experience. These drivers typically receive a certificate of course completion; however, such training is purely elective.
What is noteworthy is that safety organizations, truck crash lawyers, and others within the industry acknowledge a definite connection between higher incidences of semi truck accidents and drivers who have not received extensive training.
Additional Training For Longer Combination Vehicles
Although there are no actual training requirements for drivers to be licensed to drive a standard tractor trailer combination, those who wish to drive extended combinations do need special training. Before a CDL holder can operate any double or triple combination (a tractor trailer pulling two, or even three trailers), they must receive Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) training.
This specialized training provides the essential education and over-the-road time that drivers need to handle these combinations, which can be especially difficult to drive and even more prone to semi truck accidents. Longer combination trucks require additional skills for even the most basic operation, so the training is much more in-depth.
Training For Handling Hazardous Material
There are also a few other endorsements that require specialized driver training, including the operation of tanker trucks or any type of trucks that haul hazardous materials. Truck crash lawyers stress that companies who hire combination drivers or other specialty drivers should require applicants to have received this training. The company could be held liable for employing a driver who is not licensed with the proper endorsements.
Driving a tractor trailer can be a very rewarding job for many people, although it does mean obtaining special training along with a lot of experience. Even though there is no actual training requirement to obtain a CDL to drive a big rig, operators who receive training are much less likely to be involved in semi truck accidents.
Truck crash lawyers and many other industry experts definitely encourage those interested in this field to take the extra time and attend a driver training course. It will provide drivers with the knowledge and experience necessary to stay safe on the roads!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581