• Tom Girardi

Was that truck driver even qualified to be behind the wheel?

Trucking companies move a large amount of goods across the country every day. All of those goods need to get to their destinations within certain deadlines, which means that companies need enough drivers to meet demand.

While many companies make sure they hire qualified drivers, some are not quite as particular as they should be. This puts you and everyone else on California's roadways at risk for injury.

Background checks are vital

Driving any vehicle comes with responsibility, but when that vehicle could weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the responsibility multiplies exponentially. For this reason, federal and state regulations require trucking companies to perform background checks on all drivers to look for the following:

  • Most companies do not tolerate any incidents of driving while impaired, called driving under the influence in some jurisdictions.

  • Most companies will not hire drivers who have convictions for drunk driving on their records.

  • They look for any moving violations within at least the last 10 years.

  • They examine records regarding a driver's working conditions, safety and health as compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

  • They also look at Compliance Safety Accountability records from the federal Department of Transportation.

Unfortunately, some companies will ignore certain marks on an applicant's records in order to fill much-needed driver positions. It's possible that a company could hire a driver who is barely holding on to their commercial drivers' license (CDL.) Putting drivers like this behind the wheel could prove dangerous.

Truck drivers need to be willing to comply with all rules and regulations of the company and the federal government, along with any of the states they drive through as they deliver their goods. The last thing you want is the truck driver next to you on the road who has multiple traffic infractions, a DWI or a DUI on his or her record. This indicates that the driver's skills may not be up to par. In addition, if the driver previously caused an accident, it could happen again.

What happens after a truck accident?

If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by a truck driver, one of the first steps is to determine whether the driver was even qualified to drive. If it turns out his or her presence behind the wheel was questionable, the trucking company may bear some legal responsibility for what happened to you or your loved one. This is not the only reason that a trucking company could become a defendant in an accident claim, but it's one that bears careful consideration.