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Too many truckers on the road without qualifying credentials

Drive down any highway in America and you are likely to pass -- or get passed by -- a large 18-wheeler. Out on the interstate, it often seems as if there are more tractor trailers than passenger cars. As the saying goes, America moves by truck. But have you ever wondered whether every driver behind the wheels of those big rigs is fully qualified?

Here's a story that will make you stop and worry

To be a professional commercial driver, you don't need a college education. In fact, anyone who can undergo the training and pass the written and road test for a class C license can claim they're qualified to drive.

Based on one national news story posted on Overdrive website, however, there is some cause for concern that drivers really are as qualified as they should be. State authorities in Utah and Michigan have arrested test scorers working for the state's Department of Transportation for accepting bribes to give passing scores, even though the drivers failed the road test. In the Michigan case, the Secretary of State went even further than making criminal charges. Eighty-five certifications granted by the two fraudulent CDL testers have been invalidated and the affected drivers must retake the test.

What is required to call yourself a professional trucker?

Most over-the-road freight companies have strict hiring standards for their drivers. In addition, many require mandatory additional training over the course of the year. But anyone who has ever driven behind a large semi-truck has probably seen the big sign on the back doors, advertising for hiring drivers. With so many truck companies out there, where are all the qualified truckers coming from?

According to an industry analysis published by American Trucking Association in 2015, the industry has struggled with a severe driver shortage over the past 15 years. The report estimates that the current shortage is about 48,000 qualified drivers. Making matters worse, the average age of an over-the-road trucker is 49. Truck companies are losing money every time they can't move a trailer full of goods. While the large majority of truckers are highly skilled, we must also realize that every truck we pass may be driven by a truck driver who is under-trained or over-fatigued.

Not all truck accidents are the truck driver's fault...but many are

When we see an accident involving an 18-wheeler, it is easy to blame the trucker. In fact, most accidents involving large trucks are caused by impatient car drivers who make serious mistakes. But too many truck accidents are, indeed, the result of truck drivers who simply don't have the skill set required to safely maneuver these 36,000 lbs. behemoths and bring them to a stop when in a dangerous situation.

In many cases, even the most experienced trucker may have violated federal regulations regarding meal breaks, sleep, use of medication or alcohol and vehicle maintenance. If you were injured in an accident in Ohio, talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer at our firm right away.

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