Driver’s License Suspensions Don’t Stop Truck Drivers

We hit the roads every day trusting that everyone else behind the wheel has the requisite skills and licensing to safely operate their vehicles. Because trucks are so much larger than standard passenger vehicles it’s all the more important that drivers steering these deadly rigs have been fully trained and are qualified to drive among us.

Without the trucking industry the country wouldn’t be able to function, and we are in the midst of a severe driver shortage. As of 2018, the country reached an all-time high in the number of driver positions that needed to be filled. Companies operated with close to 60,000 fewer drivers than needed. This shortage may be leading to serious safety loopholes being overlooked and causing avoidable trucking accidents, resulting in injuries and deaths.

According to the American Trucking Associations, hiring criteria for carriers is relatively strict and while they receive enough applicants, they don’t have enough who fit the driving history, experience and other factors used in determining a good quality driver. Trucking companies could lower standards to fill the driver shortage; however it’s simply not cost effective when considering an increase in insurance – and accidents. Based on these standards, we are all to assume that if you are hired as a truck driver that you are trusted to operate these deadly vehicles.

Not so fast.

Does a commercial truck driver have to report a moving violation to his or her employer?

Given the trucking industry’s allegedly high standards for putting skilled drivers into the seats of their cabs, it’s shocking to learn that there are truckers who have had their driver’s licenses suspended but are still on the road. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, Section § 383.31 requires a driver to notify his or her employer within 30 days of the date of conviction of a moving violation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

In October 2018, a young Pennsylvania family was devastated by a truck driver who plowed into a vehicle carrying a young father and his infant daughter, killing them both in addition to a young man in a separate vehicle. The truck driver, whose commercial driver’s license (CDL) was suspended in Mississippi after pleading guilty to drug possession, never reported his convictions to his employer and continued driving – and drinking. The night he caused the three wrongful deaths, he consumed 10 shots of tequila and two beers before getting behind the wheel of his truck.

In 2016, two people were injured in a Virginia crash when a truck driver who was driving on a suspended CDL lost control of his rig.

A 23-year-old man driving on a CDL that should have been revoked, due to a record of dangerous driving and causing accidents spanning six states, killed seven bikers in New Hampshire in June of this year.

This is a lethal problem, with 32 states operating on the honor system, and drivers failing to behave honorably by taking themselves off the road until their CDL issues are resolved. What many people don’t take into consideration is the fact that while the driver’s license may be suspended in their home state, truck drivers frequently drive across many states in a day – putting thousands of people in harm’s way.

Truck drivers are supposed to abide by the rules of the road, and respect that they owe the public a high level of care when operating vehicles large enough to cause mass casualties with little effort. If you or a loved one has been injured by a commercial vehicle, you need the dedicated and aggressive legal representation of the Charlotte truck accident attorneys of Warren & Kallianos, PLLC. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 704-377-7777 or reach out to us through our contact form.



Leave a Comment