Trucking companies that put 20,000 lb. or larger trucks on Florida’s highways have a responsibility to hire safe truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has the authority to create regulations that govern the safety of commercial vehicles in the U.S. The FMCSA has outlined the specific criteria that is used to determine whether a driver is qualified to drive a large, commercial truck.
Some of the qualifications for a commercial truck driver include:
- Driver must be 21 years old
- Possess a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Pass pre-employment drug screening, comply with random drug and alcohol testing
- Possess a certificate of qualification from the medical examiner
- Has not been disqualified under any federal regulations from operating a commercial vehicle
The FMCSA requires trucking companies to maintain files for all their truck drivers that includes the driver’s application, a copy of their Department of Motor Vehicles driving records from every state where the driver has been licensed, a copy of the driver’s CDL, the medical examiner’s certificate.
Trucking companies are legally responsible for the actions of the truck drivers that they hire. If a trucking company is negligent in hiring an incompetent or even dangerous driver who has a spotty driving record, they can be held liable if that truck driver’s negligent conduct causes a truck accident.
When a dangerous truck driver is allowed to continue to drive a large, commercial truck, they put the lives of the people with whom they share the road in danger. Some of the typical behaviors that these drivers might exhibit include:
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Failure to yield
- Improper lane changes
- Faulty maintenance
- Hours of service violations
- Drunk/drugged driving
Additional behaviors that can create dangerous conditions that are not necessarily intentionally harmful include drivers who continue to drive despite being given the diagnosis of a health condition such as sleep apnea, or have been prescribed medications that could impact their ability to drive safely.
After a truck crash has occurred and your attorney is investigating the incident, he or she can request a copy of the driver’s file, but he or she will also conduct a wider investigation to see what he or she can discover about, for example, other accidents the driver might have been involved in, or whether they have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Trucking companies will be held responsible when they have failed to maintain driver logs, failed to maintain inspection reports, failed to provide adequate training and/or failed to perform drug tests on their employees.
Have you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a truck crash? The skilled Miami truck accident attorneys at Yeboah Law Group, P.A. are here to fight for your right to fair compensation for your injuries and losses. You can reach us by calling 1-800-TELL-SAM or completing our contact form to schedule a free consultation.