The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations were enacted to protect the public and help ensure that truck drivers on the road are as safe as possible. One of the obligations for the trucking company or “motor carrier” is to ensure that the truck drivers are properly trained. Texas has adopted the federal safety rules.
Section 391.1 of the Federal Regulations makes clear that the rules establish the minimum duties of the motor carrier with respect to the qualifications of the drivers. Motor carriers must ensure that the drivers of their rigs are qualified under the regulations to drive the truck. In fact, the trucking company must maintain a driver qualification file to help document the efforts of the company.
Section 392 of the regulations mandates that those responsible for management and driving of the vehicles as well as those supervising or training drivers must be instructed in and comply with the rules contained in that section.
Safety training is important because the vast majority of truck crashes that are preventable occur because of one or more violations of the federal safety rules. Ensuring that truck drivers are conversant and practice the safety rules is one critically important component to an effective safety program.
Ongoing training of truck drivers is helpful to the company not only to comply with the obligations under the law but also to reduce claims against the company and keep the commercial truck driver’s insurance policies as low as possible.
Many large trucking companies maintain safety departments charged with the responsibility for ongoing safety training of their drivers. Other companies hire outside consultants to provide safety training to ensure their fleet is driven by drivers who are aware of the safety rules and obligations to which they are subject.
Some smaller trucking companies have their drivers attend classes provided by companies serving the trucking industry. However there is a portion of the trucking companies that do not heed their obligations to ensure the truckers are safe and compliant with the rules.
For truck drivers obtaining a commercial drivers license is really not that difficult. However, simply having a CDL does not make a driver qualified and conversant with the safety rules. It is responsibility of the employer; the trucking companies to make sure that the person behind the wheel of their 18-wheelers are as safe as possible.
Frequently, it is not until an accident occurs and people are seriously injured or killed that the lack of safety training of the truck driver comes to light. By then, it is too late.
If you have questions regarding a big rig accident, call our Houston office for a no obligation consultation for truck accidents occurring in the state of Texas.
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