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Truck Driver Inexperience

Truck Accidents: Lack of Driver Training Creates Serious Dangers

It is imperative that truck drivers receive top-notch training before operating a semi. Top-notch training is getting more difficult to find, however, as fly-by-night instructional schools churn out unqualified or shoddily-trained graduates at an astonishing rate to keep up with demand. Because many trucking companies are having trouble finding qualified and experienced drivers, there are an increasing number of “green” or poorly trained commercial motor vehicle operators operating very large trucks on our highways.

A proper investigation of a truck accident should include obtaining the driver’s employment records from his/her present employer, his/her prior employment history with other trucking companies, and his DMV driving history. The driver’s employment records will (or at least should) include his/her commercial motor vehicle operator’s license and information about the driver’s training. The driver’s personnel file may also include information about prior accidents, including fender-benders, which is useful evidence to show lack of experience or training. Because the trucking industry has relatively high turnover due to truckers moving from one job to another in search of better pay or work conditions, it is important to obtain the driver’s prior employment history and, from there, obtain his personnel file from his prior employers. These files may show a history of accidents or driving infractions that would not show up in a search of his/her driving history in New Hampshire.

Modern technology now permits even more in-depth examination of a driver’s skills and experience. The so-called “black box” in almost all trucks records very specific data that can reveal how well the truck driver handled his/her rig prior to the accident. The “black box” is a data recorder that logs everything from RPM and speed, to the number of times the operator braked and whether the braking was sudden.

Example of a Case We Handled Where a Truck Accident was Due to Driver Inexperience

Our client, Neil, was driving on I-95 when he lost control of his vehicle on ice, causing his vehicle to slide sideways as he started to brake. The truck that was traveling behind Neil’s vehicle forcefully crashed into the side of the vehicle, causing Neil to suffer catastrophic injuries. The trucking company’s insurer denied Neil’s claim on the grounds that the accident was either Neil’s fault or was unavoidable due to the icy conditions that day. The police traffic accident report stated that the accident was not the fault of either party, which bolstered the insurer’s confidence that it would win the case.

We initially were not going to accept the case based on the accident report, but decided to investigate to see whether there was any data on the truck’s black box that could be helpful to Neil’s case. Our truck expert downloaded the truck’s black box data and was able to show that, during the 3-4 hours prior to the accident, the truck driver suddenly applied his brakes ten times more frequently than would be expected from an experienced driver. This evidence, according to the expert, demonstrated that either the driver did not know how to drive properly or was tailgating drivers in front of him (or both). Based on this evidence and our expert’s testimony, the insurance company reversed its position and settled the case.

Peter Thompson & Associates: Experts in New Hampshire Truck Accident Investigations

If you or a loved one has been injured in truck accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates today. We will immediately begin an investigation to gather evidence of how the accident happened, including the driver’s experience level. We have offices throughout New Hampshire and will come to your home or the hospital if you have difficulty getting around or are unable to come to us. To speak with one of our attorneys, call 800.804.2004 or fill out the online contact form.