In order to legally operate a tractor-trailer or other type of large commercial truck, a driver must have the proper education and training. Driving a large truck is much different than driving a passenger vehicle. This is why truck drivers must pass a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they can operate this type of vehicle. Unfortunately, far too many truck drivers lack the training and experience to safely operate the massive vehicle they are put in charge of. This often ends up with tragic results, leaving victims suffering from catastrophic injuries or families grieving the loss of their loved ones.
One of the major issues causing this lack of trained and experienced truck drivers on the nation’s roads is that there is a large shortage of truck drivers. According to federal data, the current driver shortage has risen to 80,000 – an all-time high – and experts predict that the shortage will double to 160,000 truck drivers by 2030.
This shortage causes companies to hire drivers and provide minimal training, as well as schedule them for trucking routes that are far more complicated than their experience level. It also means that trucking companies are forcing drivers to stay behind the wheels of their vehicles for far more hours than federal regulations allow.
One of the most frequent causes of truck accidents is driver error. This is a national statistic and one that each truck accident attorney from our firm agrees with, based on the high number of truck accident victims we have successfully represented. When the cause of the truck accident is determined to be associated with the truck and not the other vehicle, it is often the case that the cause was due to driver error. Some of the more common types of driver error in a truck accident include:
- Decision of the truck driver – The truck driver made a decision that caused the crash, such as speeding, driving too fast for road or weather conditions, misjudging the speed of the other vehicle or vehicles, or incorrectly “predicting” the actions of another vehicle driver.
- Non-performance of the truck driver – The truck driver could not drive the vehicle because of a sudden health issue, they fell asleep or were too intoxicated to operate the truck.
- Performance of the truck driver – The truck driver overcompensated, such as by taking a turn, or they froze up and just stopping the vehicle.
- Recognition by the truck driver – The truck driver failed to react to a condition or situation on the road or they were distracted by something either inside or outside the truck, such as a text message coming in on their phone, fooling around with the GPS or radio.
Call a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney for Help
If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results.