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Negligent Hiring of Commercial Truck Drivers

There must be careful consideration when hiring someone to put behind the wheel of a 10,000+ pound truck. Unfortunately, many trucking companies are far too indifferent with whom they hire and that indifference can lead to innocent people getting severely hurt. It is actually rather alarming the number of fatal accidents where even the most minimal standards of care in hiring were not followed. If a trucking company hires someone unqualified to be driving an 18-wheeler and that driver causes injuries, the company is just as liable as the driver and should be held responsible.

Lawyer for Negligent Hiring in Commercial Truck Accidents in Florida

Commercial truck companies are always looking to avoid paying for the mistakes of their drivers. If those companies are negligent in hiring their drivers though, the company should be held responsible for their actions. It is not always easy to sue the company though and it takes someone with experience to be successful. Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys is a firm of well-seasoned lawyers that will aggressively fight and claw to ensure that their clients are compensated for their injuries and sufferings.

We proudly serve clients in the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables and Cutler Bay. Reach out to us at (305) 709-0880 so we can discuss and evaluate your case.


Miami-Dade County Negligent Hiring Information Center


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Required Knowledge for Truck Drivers

The most basic requirement for an employer is defined by the FMCSA in 49 CFR 383.37. Section 383.37 simply requires that employers of commercial truck companies employ drivers that have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Yet in the FMCSA’s latest study in 2016, it was found that approximately 13% of fatal large truck accidents involved a truck driver who either had no CDL or an invalid license.

Obtaining a CDL license requires a driver to have certain knowledge and skills. To validate whether a driver has the requisite skills to live a large commercial truck or not, the FMCSA requires both a knowledge test and a skills test. The following is the FMCSA requirements for what every truck driver must know:

49 CFR §383.111   Required knowledge.

  • All CMV operators must have knowledge of the following…
    • Safe operations regulations. Driver-related elements of the regulations contained in parts 391, 392, 393, 395, 396, and 397 of this subchapter…
    • Safe vehicle control systems. The purpose and function of the controls and instruments commonly found on CMVs
    • CMV safety control systems. (i) Proper use of the motor vehicle’s safety system, including lights, horns, side and rear-view mirrors, proper mirror adjustments, fire extinguishers, symptoms of improper operation revealed through instruments, motor vehicle operation characteristics, and diagnosing malfunctions.
    • CMV drivers must have knowledge of the correct procedures needed to use these safety systems in an emergency situation, e.g., skids and loss of brakes.
    • Speed management. The importance of understanding the effects of speed…
    • Space management. The procedures and techniques for controlling the space around the vehicle…
    • Roadway factors (low illumination, variation in illumination, unfamiliarity with roads, other road users, especially drivers exhibiting erratic or improper driving)…
    • Hazard perceptions. The basic information on hazard perception and clues for recognition of hazards…
    • Relationship of cargo to vehicle control. The principles and procedures for the proper handling of cargo, including:
      • Consequences of improperly secured cargo, drivers’ responsibilities, and Federal/State and local regulations;
      • Principles of weight distribution
      • Principles and methods of cargo securement.
  • What safety-related parts to look for when inspecting vehicles, e.g., fluid leaks, interference with visibility, bad tires, wheel and rim defects, braking system defects, steering system defects, suspension system defects, exhaust system defects, coupling system defects, and cargo problems.

Required Skills for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers, like all drivers, must also have the requisite skills to safely operate their vehicle. Obviously, the skills required to operate a semi-tractor trailer are much higher than for driving a Miata. Below is a look at what every truck driver must be capable of doing:


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49 CFR §383.113   Required skills.

  • Applicants must be able to identify each safety-related part on the vehicle and explain what needs to be inspected to ensure a safe operating condition of each part…
  • Applicants must demonstrate the following skills with respect to inspection and operation of air brakes:
    • Determine the motor vehicle’s brake system condition for proper adjustments and that air system connections between motor vehicles have been properly made and secured;
    • Determine that required minimum air pressure build up time is within acceptable limits and that required alarms and emergency devices automatically deactivate at the proper pressure level; and
  • Ability to adjust speed to the configuration and condition of the roadway, weather and visibility conditions, traffic conditions, and motor vehicle, cargo and driver conditions;
  • Ability to choose a safe gap for changing lanes, passing other vehicles, as well as for crossing or entering traffic;
  • Ability to adjust operation of the motor vehicle to prevailing weather conditions including speed selection, braking, direction changes, and following distance to maintain control;

Beyond the basic knowledge and skills required above, the trucking companies must also ensure that their hires have not been disqualified to drive a commercial vehicle for committing a major offense or a serious traffic violation such as being under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident, using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony, excessive speeding, following a vehicle too closely, or making improper or erratic traffic lane changes.


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Negligent Hiring Resources

Florida Commercial Driver’s License Knowledge Test – You can access a practice version of the Florida CDL Knowledge Test here. This is the test required of any person that wants to become a commercial truck driver in the state of Florida.

FMCSA Driver Regulations – Again, this is only a sampling of what is required for commercial truck drivers. The exhaustive requirements of 49 CFR 383 can be accessed here.


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Find a Commercial Truck Accident Attorney

It is the responsibility of trucking companies to hire drivers that are safe and compliant with the law. If one of their drivers causes an accident and that driver should never have been hired in the first place, the trucking company can be held liable for their failing. If you have been injured by such a driver, it is best you find an attorney that knows how to deal with suing trucking companies.

The attorneys here at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are experienced trial attorneys who will claw tooth and nail to make sure their clients get what they deserve. We represent injured people in communities throughout the Miami area including North Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Doral, Homestead, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Coral Gables and Pinecrest. We can be reached at (305) 709-0880 and are ready and willing to discuss your case with you.


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