If you do any highway driving, you have probably seen decals on the back of 18-wheelers on the highway that proclaim that a particular trucking company is hiring new drivers with “no experience necessary.” Hiring new employees with no experience is not necessarily a problem, but putting a new driver behind the wheel of a commercial truck before they are ready can be extremely dangerous.
Commercial trucks are massive, heavy vehicles, and when a Virginia truck accident occurs, it is usually the occupants of other vehicles who suffer personal injuries. Our skilled Virginia personal injury lawyers realize that all truck drivers need to gain experience somewhere, but when inexperience leads to accidents, drivers and trucking companies must be held accountable.
Why Does Experience Matter?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides regulations and guidelines for the training and certification of the nation’s truck drivers. It is up to the trucking company to ensure that all of its drivers are in full compliance with experience and training requirements. Drivers must receive training in several mandatory areas, including driver qualification requirements, driver wellness, and hours of service rules. At the risk of stating the obvious, however, training is not the same as real-world, on-the-road experience.
Experienced drivers typically gain a feel for not only the large truck itself, but also for the road, other drivers, and weather conditions. This allows them to make adjustments quickly, often without even giving conscious thought to doing so. A driver who lacks experience is much more prone to oversights and mistakes than a seasoned driver is. Inexperienced drivers may also struggle when new or unusual situations arise. Driver inexperience is dangerous in any vehicle, but when the vehicle is a large truck that is nearly 70 feet long and weighs up to 80,000 pounds, the dangers increase exponentially.
Protecting Your Rights After a Virginia Truck Crash
There is no question that everyone deserves the opportunity to earn a living, and every truck driver on the road today was once an inexperienced driver. However, inexperience is not a valid excuse when it leads to an accident that causes injuries.
When a truck crash occurs, the trucking company is likely to have an entire team of attorneys looking to help the company avoid financial liability. However, a transport company that employs drivers has a responsibility to ensure that drivers are properly trained and fit to perform their jobs. If you have been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by an inexperienced truck driver, we are equipped to help you determine what happened, why it happened, and which party or parties might be liable.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be useful to subpoena personnel files from the trucking company to look for indications that the driver was not properly trained. Company records should keep careful track of each driver’s training progress, Department of Transportation physical examinations, and any internal concerns that the company might have about the driver. Along with evidence from the scene and witness testimony, such records can be crucial in building a case against a negligent trucking company.
Enlist the Help of a Virginia Truck Accident Injury Lawyer
To learn more about our firm and our approach to truck accidents, contact the team of experienced Virginia truck crash injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We understand how complicated truck accident cases can be, and we will do everything we can to get you full compensation under the law—just as we did in securing a $450,000 settlement for our client who was injured when his truck hit another truck that was negligently parked along the side of a Virginia interstate. Call (833) 997-1774 for a free consultation today.