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Legally Speaking

Commercial Truck Collisions: Who's At Fault?

Mar 14, 2018 4:01:55 PM / by Stealey Law & Mediation

Did you know that a commercial driver is not required to go to school to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

That being said, it is extremely difficult to get a job or pass the required exams without attending some type of trucking school first.

There are a few options for receiving training: Enrolling in a private truck driving school or taking an employer apprenticeship. We’re here to weigh the pros and cons, as well as to discuss what you can do to steer clear of commercial truck collisions.

commercial truck drivers

 

CDL CLASSIFICATIONS

  1. Class A: A combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, providing that the gross vehicle weight rating being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  2. Class B: A single vehicle with the gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, not towing a vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  3. Class C: A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001, not towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000, unless:
    • The vehicle is transporting 16 or more passengers (including the driver)
    • The vehicle is used in transporting hazardous materials

You must be 18 years or older and have been driving for two years or more to get a CDL.

As mentioned above, while it is not required that some form of school is taken, it is hard to pass the exam without it.

 

REQUIREMENTS TO ENROLL IN TRUCK DRIVER SCHOOL

To get into a truck driving school, there are a few prerequisites such as having:

  • A high school diploma (equivalent)
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of citizenship (identity)

An individual may also be required to undergo drug testing and english language test.


TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL

Going to school to obtain a CDL can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $7,000; however, there are funding options including veteran education benefits, federal student aid and tuition reimbursement.

Very rarely will an individual pay the full price up front.

Truck driving schools can help an individual receive the experience he or she may need to get a job. By taking the schooling option, an individual should expect the following:

  • Education from hands-on instructors that will help the individual pass the CDL written test
  • Training within a facility and on-the-road
  • CDL certified training vehicles
  • Advanced driving techniques (avoiding skidding and recovering a vehicle)
  • Procedure training (preparing an individual to work for any company)
  • On-site testing (some facilities are certified by the DMV within an individual's state to provide CDL testing)

The length of time one will be in school for his or her CDL will be dependent on the classification he or she is going for.


EMPLOYER APPRENTICESHIP

We mentioned that an individual should go through some type of training like private truck driving school before taking a CDL written exam; however, an individual could also receive an employee apprenticeship.

Qualifications include:

  • Having a commercial learner’s permit (CPL)
  • Signing a contract to work for the company who is providing the apprenticeship

As an apprentice, the way the individual is trained may not be as structured; however, the individual is receiving this training at a limited cost (or none at all).

The individual will also have a job after training (after examinations), receive an abundance of on-the-road experience, the use of a company vehicle during CDL testing and get first hand knowledge of how the company operates.


CDL TESTING

There are three tests that an individual must take before receiving his or her CDL.

  1. The Knowledge Exam is a written test that must be passed with an 80 percent. The individual must know all of the endorsements on the test card, as well as general knowledge. If this test is failed, the individual must wait seven days before retaking, up to three times with original fees.
  2. Hazardous Materials Testing is a written exam testing an individual's knowledge on hazardous materials knowledge.
  3. The Skills Test has to be administered by a certified third party examiner. Individuals have to have a CPL for 14 days (minimum). An individual has to pass the other two exams. There are three parts to the test:
  • Pre-trip
  • Basic control
  • Road test

The vehicle that an individual is testing in must be safe and legal.


AVOIDING COLLISIONS IN A COMMERCIAL TRUCK

Commercial trucks travel all over and have to be understanding of the road and its other occupants.

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re steering clear of truck collisions:

  • Watch your blind spots. Cars zoom in and out of those spots, and if you are not paying attention, a dangerous situation can occur.
  • Get some rest. Truck drivers, who are driving a long way, are required to rest. Not doing this could result in falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Stay aware. It’s not just about looking at blind spots. One should always be looking and scanning the road.

STEALEY LAW AND MEDIATION | COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVING COLLISION LAWYER

Truck drivers should get extensive training and go should through several tests to be able to drive commercial trucks. Despite their training, truck drivers, like everyone else, are capable of making mistakes on the road. Obviously, not every wreck involving a truck is the fault of the truck driver. Many times, people do not have enough respect for trucks and truck drivers, and that causes a wreck. But, when a wreck is caused a truck driver, it can be catastrophic. 

If, for some reason, you were in a wreck caused by a commercial truck driver, give us a call.

SCHEDULE NOW

These cases are often very complex and difficult.

A qualified personal injury attorney will always advise against talking to the insurance company without legal representation. We can help you:

  • Establish liability by preserving evidence and interviewing witnesses
  • Ensure you receive proper medical care
  • Help you understand the law, including statutes of limitations
  • Collect necessary medical records and help you properly document injuries, helping you receive full compensation
  • Ensure you receive the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled
  • Negotiate a settlement that takes into account all future medical and financial needs
  • Research and investigate whether trucking laws and regulations were violated
  • Hire expert witnesses to assist in determining fault

Stealey Law and Mediation will guide you through every step of the process, ensuring we answer all your questions and that you are comfortable with the course of action.

Topics: Truck Accidents

Welcome to "Legally Speaking" where we cover topics ranging from medical malpractice to distracted driving in personal injury cases. Jim was the co-host of a television program called "Legally Speaking" on Network West Virginia as well as a legal analyst for the local TV station and several radio stations. With 38+ years of experience, Jim Stealey provides client representation in a compassionate and dedicated manner. 

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