How Safe is a Semi Tractor-Trailer Driver?
This is an important question because we all must share the road with these huge semi tractor-trailers and an accident with a semi tractor-trailer is likely to result in serious personal injury or even wrongful death to the smaller vehicle. Safe operation benefits both the trucking industry and the industry does a good job of making sure its drivers are safe. So how do they do it. The answers lie in their desire to avoid the costs associated with causing serious personal injury to others and through enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations aka FMCFRs. The FMCFRs set out the requirements for driving Semi Tractor-Trailers. They are as follows:
Rule 391(11) General qualifications of drivers.(a) A person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Except as provided in §391.63, a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless that person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.(b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she—(1) Is at least 21 years old;(2) Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;(3) Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;(4) Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with subpart E—Physical Qualifications and Examinations of this part;(5) Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;(6) Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with the list of violations or the certificate as required by §391.27;(7) Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in §391.15; and(8) Has successfully completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test in accordance with §391.31, or has presented an operator’s license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test in accordance with §391.33.
As the trucking company is responsible for injuries caused by one of their drivers, they have a good incentive to follow these rules faithfully. The trucking company is also required to get the safety recs of a truck driver from former employers for the past 3 years before hiring. After hire, on an annual basis, the company is required to obtain the driving record from the state agency where the trucker has his/her CDL.
We know the rules and how the industry attempts to keep us all safe. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi tractor-trailer accident, please call.