Miami Big Rig Accidents and Truck Driver Training: Is Commercial Truck Training Enough?
April 3, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Truck Accidents
Miami big rig accidents cause catastrophic injuries and devastating losses, usually to the people in passenger vehicles. These extremely heavy, large vehicles often travel on interstates at speeds of 70 mph or faster.
Each year, the NHTSA reports large truck accident statistics. Sadly, each report shows similar results. Occupants of other vehicles sustain over 70% of the injuries and fatalities in large truck accidents.
With such startling statistics, we should ask whether truck drivers receive sufficient training to operate commercial trucks safely.
Driving a Big Rig Requires Specialized Knowledge and Skills
Driving a tractor-trailer is not the same as driving a car. You need training, experience, and education to operate a commercial truck safely.
Florida requires truck drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before operating a big rig or semi-truck. Before obtaining your CDL, you must pass knowledge tests and skills tests. The specific tests a person must pass depend on the class of vehicle and the endorsements they need.
Even with strict rules for obtaining a commercial driver’s license, truck driver error remains one of the most common reasons for truck accidents.
Common causes of commercial truck crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to check blind spots
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Truck driver drug and alcohol use
- Following vehicles too closely
- Fatigued and drowsy driving (tired truck drivers)
- Failure to conduct a pre-trip check
- Improper lane changes and/or turns
Therefore, is commercial truck training sufficient if truck drivers continue to make deadly errors?
What Are the Requirements for Commercial Truck Driver Training?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established national training standards for new truck drivers in 2016. In addition, the FMCSA set a baseline for training requirements for entry-level drivers that took effect on February 7, 2022. Unfortunately, the ELDT regulations were not retroactive.
The FMCSA might set baselines for training commercial truck drivers, but it does not provide the training. Instead, most truck drivers receive their training through truck driving schools.
Truck driving schools are required to provide training that meets the baseline. However, is that sufficient to prepare drivers to face the challenges of driving a large truck on congested roads and during changing conditions?
Learning the basics in a classroom is not the same as having on-the-road experience. Truck drivers encounter numerous situations each day that could lead to a truck accident. In a life-or-death situation, experience could be the only thing that prevents a commercial truck accident.
Trucking companies may also hold some of the blame for failing to ensure that their drivers have adequate commercial truck training. Lack of supervision and negligent hiring practices could increase the risk of a truck crash.
Investigating the Cause of Miami Commercial Truck Accidents
Local, state, and federal agencies may participate in a truck accident investigation. These investigations can be lengthy, especially if the accident involves multiple vehicles. The evidence gathered by law enforcement and government agencies can help reveal if a lack of training contributed to the truck crash.
After a truck accident, it is crucial for Miami truck accident attorneys to obtain training records and information for the truck driver. Additionally, the lawyer needs to review logbooks, driving records, truck maintenance records, and employment records. These records can reveal violations of trucking regulations and safety standards that contributed to the cause of the truck crash.
The sooner a Miami truck accident lawyer can begin an independent investigation, the better their chance of preserving evidence. Evidence in a truck accident case could be lost or destroyed. In the worst cases, a trucking company might falsify records to avoid liability for a truck accident.
Big Rig Accidents in Miami Cause Horrific Injuries and Deaths
A large truck accident can cause traumatic injuries that result in permanent impairments.
Truck accident victims can sustain multiple injuries, including:
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Paralysis and spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ failure and damage
- Loss of bodily functions
- Neck and back injuries
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones and fractures
- Crushing injuries
- Hearing and vision loss
- Permanent brain damage
- Soft tissue injuries, including nerve damage
- Wrongful death
If the truck driver or trucking company was negligent or committed intentional torts, they could be held liable for your damages. The trucking company can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its truck driver.
Holding Trucking Companies and Truck Drivers Liable for Negligence and Intentional Wrongdoing
The damages caused by a commercial truck accident can total millions of dollars. Victims with permanent impairments might require personal and/or nursing care for the rest of their lives. They may be unable to work to pay for their care or provide for their family.
The life-altering injuries from a truck accident can cause significant economic damages. However, the victims also frequently experience severe pain and suffering. Therefore, the non-economic damages can be more devastating than the financial losses.
Examples of the types of damages caused by truck accidents include:
- The cost of medical treatment and future medical bills
- The cost of nursing care and personal care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Modifications to a home or vehicle because of a disabling condition
- Extensive rehabilitative therapies
- The cost of medical devices and equipment
- Lost wages, earning capacity, and benefits
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Impairments and disabilities
- Diminished quality of life
The severity of the victim’s injuries directly impacts the value of damages. However, other factors could affect how much they receive in a truck accident claim.
The trucking company and its insurance company will try to limit their liability for damages. They might try to blame the victim or other parties for causing the truck wreck. They might question the severity of injuries or the value of damages.
Experienced Miami truck accident attorneys are prepared for these tactics. They understand how the companies fight claims, and they are ready to fight back. Your best chance of recovering a fair settlement or jury award for truck accident damages is to work with an experienced truck accident lawyer.