Truck accidents are often far worse than a car accident. Trucks, after all, are typically ten times the size and weight of a normal vehicle, even when the truck is empty. When full, a tractor trailer can weigh close to 80,000 pounds, more than 25 times the weight of a normal sedan. When this kind of weight comes into contact with your own car, the results are often devastating, and the risk of a severe or fatal personal injury can be significant.
Because of the high risk of injury that truck accidents pose to the other drivers on the road, it would make sense for truck drivers to get as much training as possible before they ever hit the road. Unfortunately, this is just not the case. Instead, truckers are often underprepared for their long hours on the road, with trucking companies skimping on the necessary training or not providing any, at all. Studies have shown that this inadequate or improper truck driver training can lead to a severe truck accident that causes significant injuries to the other drivers involved.
The Problem of Inadequate Truck Driver Training
Truck drivers and the trucking companies that employ them make money when they are delivering cargo to its destination. Importantly, this is not happening while someone is still going through his or her truck driver training. Even worse, giving a driver the training they need often costs the driver or the driver's trucking company training or course fees. Because of these negative financial incentives, it does not come as a surprise that drivers and trucking companies do as little training as possible in order to keep their costs down and rush drivers out onto the road so they can start turning a profit as soon as they can.
Unfortunately, inadequately or improperly trained truck drivers cause truck accidents. A study was done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that covered 967 crashes in 17 states between 2001 and 2003 and recorded numerous elements from each crash. The numbers were then used as representative of the estimated 141,000 accidents involving large trucks across the country during the 33 months covered by the study.
The FMCSA's study found that thousands of truck accidents were caused by the truck driver's inadequate or improper training. 6.5% of the accidents covered by the study – an estimated 9,000 accidents over the course of 33 months – involved a trucker who was unfamiliar with their vehicle, having driven it fewer than six times in the past six months.
Additionally, the study found that thousands of other accidents involved truck drivers doing things that strongly suggest a distinct lack of training. For example, in nearly a quarter of the accidents covered by the study, representing an estimated 32,000 accidents over the timeframe covered, the truck driver was driving too fast for the road conditions. Another 30,000 accidents – 21.6% of the total – involved truckers who were unfamiliar with the roadway. A further 11% of the truck accidents in the study – representing an estimated 16,000 crashes – were caused by truck drivers who were driving aggressively or were following the vehicle in front of them too closely. In all of these cases, truck drivers who were properly trained would likely not have made the same mistakes, and would, therefore, have avoided the accident.
The Importance of Proper Truck Training
There are many differences between driving a car and driving a truck. For example, when driving at 55 miles per hour, it takes about 50 yards for a car to come to a complete stop. For a truck, however, it takes about 120 yards for it to stop. Even if this does not seem like a big difference, it has significant repercussions: For example, it means that truckers need to be able to anticipate and account for traffic hazards that are more than twice as far away as the regular driver.
This is where a truck driver's training should come into play. Many commercial driving schools exist throughout the country and in the Maryland area. However, some of these schools are better than others. Even if they offer the same amount of class time and the same amount of behind-the-wheel training to potential truckers, the quality of the training can vary widely. With that said, though, many commercial driving schools only offer less than a half-dozen hours of practical training before graduating drivers. From there, graduates take their commercial driver's license exam. If they pass, their next step could be getting behind the wheel of a tractor trailer and hauling cargo across the country, all with less than ten hours of on-the-road training under their belts.
Baltimore Personal Injury Attorneys Gilman & Bedigian
If you get hurt in a truck accident that was caused by a trucker, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. After all, if it was the inexperience of the truck driver that was the cause of the crash, then there is no reason why you should pay for the costs of your own injuries.
Importantly, when a truck driver's lack of training was the cause of your injuries in a crash, you may be able to hold not only the driver but also his or her trucking company liable for your injuries. This can make a huge difference because, when the trucking company can be held liable, it allows you to get compensation from a party who is much more likely to be able to cover the full costs of your recovery.
The personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. By acting as your legal representative both in and out of court, we can fight to protect your rights and interests and ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call our law office at (800) 529-6162 or contact us online to get the help you need to make the recovery you deserve.