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Texas Improper Truck Driver Training Accident Lawyer

Texas Improper Truck Driver Training Accident Lawyer
texas truck accident lawyers merritt and merritt attorneys

Texas Improper Truck Driver Training Accident Attorney

Truck drivers serve an essential role in the flow of our economy, transporting all manner of goods within the state and across the country. Operating large commercial vehicles requires careful attention to road conditions, traffic laws, regulations, and safety measures. It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to operate these large vehicles safely – after all, if they don’t, the consequences could be devastating to themselves and others.

Unfortunately, proper training is often extremely lacking for new drivers, leading to otherwise avoidable accidents. Victims in truck accident cases who have suffered injury or loss because of improper truck driver training have the right to pursue just compensation for their loss. To secure a favorable outcome in these otherwise complex cases, it is imperative that you partner with a qualified Texas attorney.

Improper Truck Driver Training Accident Attorney

The team at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm has been practicing law related almost exclusively to truck accident claims for many decades. Our focus and dedication have led to a wealth of both experience and resources that enable us to pursue claims for compensation on behalf of our clients. We know what it takes to demonstrate negligence and hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

If you’ve suffered an injury or loss due to a truck accident that is the result of inadequate driver training, let us fight for you in your case. We are not afraid to take trucking companies to court when necessary. To recover fair and just compensation for the damages that you’ve incurred in a truck accident, it is vital that you partner with a qualified and experienced Texas personal injury and truck accident attorney.

What Kind of Training Do CDL Drivers Receive?

Driving larger trucks requires much more training, experience, and skill than standard non-commercial vehicles. Larger trucks are more difficult to maneuver and carry greater potential consequences for errors. For these reasons, special licenses are required for operating these vehicles. Drivers can attend CDL training school, studying to pass the Texas State Exam to obtain a Class A, B, or C commercial driver’s license (CDL).

This training is an instructional program intended to help students prepare to pass the exam and earn their license. The start of the program is classroom-oriented, helping students understand the particular rules of the road as it pertains to driving trucks, explaining what is required of the drivers, and how these requirements vary between states.

Completion of this portion will earn drivers a permit, allowing them to begin training by driving a commercial truck. A license will be granted only when the driver demonstrates proficiency in handling a larger truck and safely maneuvering it on the road.

What Kinds of Accidents Can Occur Due to Improper Training?

Large commercial trucks make up a large portion of all vehicle traffic across the nation – approximately 13%. This classification includes big rigs, semis, and tractor-trailers. Because of their prevalence, size, and weight, truck accidents are unfortunately quite common. The following comprise some of the most common types of accidents involving trucks, especially those that result from improper training:

  • Collisions: Both head-on and rear-end collisions with other vehicles are extremely dangerous due to the significant difference in size and weight between large trucks and the typical vehicles with which they collide. These accidents can occur with inexperienced or improperly trained drivers who misjudge the stopping distance of larger trucks.
  • Blind Spot Accidents: Larger trucks have significant blind spots – especially semi-trucks. Drivers can easily lose sight of other vehicles near them. Inexperienced drivers who drive over-aggressively, attempting to overtake other drivers and switching lanes often, can easily neglect to appropriately watch for other drivers, leading to devastating crashes.
  • Jackknifing: A large truck will jackknife when the trailer swings out to a ninety-degree angle. This immediately creates a dangerous situation that leaves a truck prone to overturning or rolling over. Inexperienced drivers can jackknife their trucks by braking too suddenly, especially when turning or going downhill.
  • Roll-Overs: When a truck loses control, such as when it begins jackknifing, the tractor-trailer can tip or roll over. This presents an extreme hazard for other motorists, especially if any cargo spills or falls out of the truck and onto the road.
  • Tire Blowouts: Every vehicle is susceptible to a potential tire blowout, but several factors leave large commercial vehicles particularly prone to doing so. First, the increased number of tires on which the truck is being driven increases the chances. Second, tire blowouts are often the result of too much pressure on the tires. Commercial vehicles carrying heavy loads are in danger of putting too much pressure on the tires. Inexperienced or improperly trained drivers may neglect to appropriately check tire conditions and are less likely to avoid road hazards, such as potholes, that also contribute to tire blowouts.
  • Underride Accidents: These are some of the deadliest truck accidents that can occur. When a commercial truck stops too suddenly, rather than merely rear-ending the truck, smaller vehicles approaching behind a truck will get stuck beneath the tractor-trailer, typically tearing off the tops of their vehicles in the process.

What Are Common Causes for Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents occur for a myriad of reasons. Depending on the circumstances that led to the accident, different parties may be responsible for causing it, leading to liability concerns. Truck accidents are most commonly caused by:

  • Improper training. Commercial drivers who are not properly taught, trained, or equipped to handle a large truck put themselves and others at risk. The added size and weight make large trucks handle very differently than standard vehicles – especially when carrying significant cargo weight. Training should include responsible equipment handling, safety protocols, and traffic laws in addition to technique. Responsible trucking companies should ensure adequate training for all their drivers.
  • Distracted driving. People will make mistakes, and no one is immune to error. However, there is no excuse for negligence when handling large commercial trucks. Drivers are to remain alert at all times, and they should also not engage in any activity that would distract their attention away from the road.
  • Impaired driving. Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely irresponsible and illegal, as it puts everyone in severe danger. In addition to illegal substances, drivers can become impaired from improper rest. Many drivers become exhausted as a result of overscheduling, which leads to sleep deprivation, inhibiting their attentiveness.
  • Improper loading. Commercial trucks primarily transport goods. Improper loading, overloading, and unsecured loads can all lead to accidents. While third parties are often responsible for loading trailers, drivers can also share responsibility for checking and ensuring that cargo is properly loaded.
  • Equipment malfunction. Accidents are not always the fault of the driver. Sometimes, truck parts malfunction due to defective equipment or other causes. Regular maintenance and careful inspection are the most effective ways to prevent these issues. In these cases, it is possible to hold manufacturers or shop mechanics liable for an accident.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Resulting From a Truck Accident?

There are many different types of collisions that can arise from accidents involving large trucks. The injuries that result can range from minor to catastrophic, but truck accidents tend to result in more severe injuries. The following represent just some of the most common:

  • Head, neck, and spine injuries
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Whiplash
    • Torn ligaments
  • Appendages
    • Broken bones
    • Limb loss
    • Paralysis
  • External and internal damage
    • Abrasions
    • Contusions
    • Severe burns
    • Organ damage

In the most serious of cases, truck accidents can lead to wrongful death.

How Can I Determine Liability in a Truck Accident?

Accidents involving commercial vehicles require thorough and extensive investigation to determine liability. The driver’s experience and training background, the vehicle’s maintenance history, and the trucking company’s business practices will all be taken into account when determining liability. Ultimately, liability will fall on the party(s) that demonstrated negligence.

Can You Sue a Trucking Company in Texas?

Texas personal injury law entitles an individual to file a claim against a responsible party for any injury or loss suffered as a result of negligence. You can make a claim against a trucking company if you can demonstrate fault through negligence on their part.

If you are alleging that improper driver training was given to the truck driver who was involved in your accident, liability would fall on the trucking company if they claimed, but ultimately failed, to provide adequate training.

Most trucking companies do not provide CDL training directly, but many will use particular third-party providers for providing training to their drivers. In these cases, proving that fault lies with the trucking company can be difficult without a skilled and experienced attorney.

How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Texas?

Texas has more truck drivers than any other state in the country – around 170,000. CDL drivers make a range of salaries, averaging between $64,000 – $88,000 annually. There are three classes of CDLs that a driver can obtain, each one affording different salary-earning opportunities. The three classes are:

  • Class A CDL: This license authorizes the driver to operate vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of up to 26,001 pounds if the gross vehicle weight rating of all vehicles towed exceeds 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B CDL: This entitles a driver to operate a single vehicle that EITHER a) has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; b) has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more that is towing less than 10,000 pounds; or c) is designed to transport 24 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • Class C CDL: This license allows drivers to operate a non-Class A or B vehicle that is designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers, including the driver, or is used to transport hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to be placarded.

How Much Is CDL School in Texas?

There is an extremely disparate range of costs associated with attending a CDL school in Texas. In fact, there are programs offered for free, and there are programs that cost upwards of $10,000. The disparity comes, for the most part, from differences in the quality of the education and training provided. Generally, you should expect to spend between $3,000 – $7,000 for a quality program. Tuition assistance is available in many cases.

Unfortunately, CDL training is big business in Texas, creating an influx of predatory programs that take advantage of prospective drivers. Since most CDL training schools are for-profit businesses, it happens that many of them offer little in the way of industry training, despite handing out certificates.

It is a good idea to attend accredited training schools, most of which are affiliated with community colleges. In terms of satisfying tuition, in addition to the many grants that are offered, many companies will offer paid training, during which they pay you to attend CDL school and obtain your commercial driver’s license.

How Long Is CDL School in Texas?

The length of time required to complete CDL training school in Texas can also vary widely. Programs can be completed in as little as a few weeks and can last up to six months or more. Training hours are broken into both classroom instruction, after which you’ll earn a learner’s permit (CLP), and behind-the-wheel training, which will prepare you for the CDL Texas State Exam.

You are required to hold your CLP for at least 14 days before you can schedule the test. In total, most drivers take between four and eight weeks to complete CDL school when attending it full-time.

Your Texas Truck Accident Representation

Improper truck driver training unfortunately allows many unqualified drivers onto the road, operating extremely heavy and potentially dangerous vehicles. When innocent people get hurt, it is necessary not only to recuperate losses but to hold at-fault parties responsible. If you’ve suffered an injury in a truck accident, speak with a member of our team at the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm. We can review the specific details of your case with you and begin the process of filing a claim for compensation. Contact our office today to get started.

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