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Steven M. Lee, PC

Truck Licensing Regulations Fail to Incorporate Experience and Skill for Safety

Lack of driver skills can contribute to a serious truck accidentHaving the ability to control and safely drive an 18-wheeler truck comes from years of experience and finely tuned skills. Controlling the trailer’s massive weight on curves and hills is only one of the numerous skills a truck driver must master to avoid a catastrophic accident. Anticipating potential problems well ahead of other drivers is another requirement that many ordinary motorists don’t realize truckers must perfect.

The size and weight of an 18-wheeler make it impossible to stop on a dime. In fact, the average stopping distance of a semi going 60 mph is 180 feet with an additional reaction time of 88 feet. This means that a truck driver must be able to determine an emergency situation at least 268 feet ahead of him—almost the length of a football field, and approximately the length of 18 cars lined end-to-end.

Considering the amount of focus and skill required to drive a big rig adequately, and the numerous potential risks involved, shouldn’t truck drivers be required to undergo extensive training to build up experience and proficiency?

Truck Licensing Regulations

Individuals who drive big rigs need a Class A driver’s license to operate their trucks legally. While this type of license requires drivers to follow certain regulations and receive a certain amount of training, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be extremely skilled or experienced when they get on the road.

Inexperienced truck drivers may:

  • Not know how to drive in bad weather or heavy traffic
  • Not remember how to secure or balance a load properly.
  • Not be able to make quick decisions.
  • Not realize that their actions (or lack thereof) can truly hurt someone else.

They may remember their training but not be confident or skilled enough to use it.

But truck drivers need more than a passing grade to be safe drivers. You wouldn’t want a doctor who was last in his class and only performed one surgery to be operating on you, would you? What about having an 18-year old, unseasoned trucker dragging a 50,000-pound trailer, driving next to you? Unfortunately, as older drivers prepare to retire, the trucking industry faces a looming driver shortage that is forcing it to hire younger and less experienced drivers.

Dealing With Inexperience

Some safety professionals argue that teen drivers have a much higher risk of accidents due to a lack of experience and training. An uptick in truck accidents over the last few years has fueled their fire to block 18- to 21-year-old commercial driver license (CDL) holders from being able to drive across state lines.

This interstate limitation will allow younger drivers (and perhaps older, inexperienced drivers) to gain knowledge and proficiency in-state, before venturing out across country. Much like a graduated license, CDL holders under the age of 21 would slowly gain experience on the road, gradually earning fewer restrictions on routes, cargo, and configurations.

Weighing In

How do you feel about younger and inexperienced truck drivers being restricted with a graduated CDL? Like our page on Facebook and leave us a comment expressing your opinions. We’d love to hear from you.

Need exceptional legal advice following a truck accident injury? Contact us today by filling out the convenient electronic form on this page to schedule a free consultation. Inexperience is not a valid excuse for causing the truck accident you were involved in, so, let our extensive experience get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact or call us today.


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