According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), approximately two million truckers transport over 72% of inland freight in the United States. Large corporations like Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and others that conduct mass shipping operations employ many of these drivers.
Below, we discuss the training that truck drivers who work for large corporations commonly receive, as well as the potential consequences that arise when truckers do not receive adequate training.
What Are the Requirements for Entry-Level Truckers?
It is not that difficult to enter the trucking industry as an entry-level driver. Right now, there are few federal regulations for obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Currently, the minimal requirements include:
- Have a driver’s license and be at least 18 years old to drive within a state
- Have a driver’s license and be at least 21 years old to drive between states
- Have one or two years of driving experience
- Provide proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency
- Pass background checks
Startlingly, there is no requirement that an entry-level truck driver has prior experience operating a big-rig or similar vehicle before obtaining a CDL. Additionally, there is no federal requirement that entry-level drivers receive thorough trucking safety training on important issues like distracted driving, safety procedures for pulling over, backing and docking, and others before they receive their CDL.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) planned to roll out universal training standards for new truck drivers, the agency announced in 2020 that it would delay the compliance date for the new training standards until 2022. The FMCSA’s Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) curriculum will include (among other things):
- Basic operation of a truck, control systems, and dashboard instruments
- Pre-trip inspections and post-trip inspections
- Backing and docking
- Coupling and uncoupling trailers
- Distracted driving
- Using signals and other vehicle communication
- Emergency situations
- Roadside inspections
- Truck maintenance
- Handling of cargo
- Hours-of-service requirements
- Health and wellness
- Post-crash procedures
- Trip planning and routing
Entry-Level Truck Driver Training at Large Companies
Several major trucking companies operate their own truck driver training schools. UPS has a truck driver training school called Integrad that serves as an intense boot camp for new drivers. The course is meant to teach entry-level drivers responsible driving tips, such as identifying occupied and vacant vehicles, driving on black ice, and more.
Even though it has developed its own training program, UPS continues to fight for exemption from the FMCSA’s ELDT program. In its initial petition, UPS said the Integrad program is a well-established and effective training program for drivers. The FMCSA did not agree, ruling that UPS did not demonstrate it would likely achieve a level of safety at or exceeding the level that could be achieved if the company complied with the ELDT program.
UPS’s accident history undercuts the company’s bid to sidestep federal regulation. Over a recent two-year period, UPS delivery trucks were involved in 2,362 accidents. Of those, 54 caused deaths and 858 caused injuries.
Putting UPS and others aside, most trucking companies do not spend the time or money needed to properly train their drivers. Poorly trained and inexperienced truck drivers are far more likely to cause an accident than those with more experience.
Truck Accidents Caused by Poor Training
The accident attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have direct experience with the consequences of inexperienced or poorly trained truckers. We have recovered millions of dollars for clients in the following trucking cases:
- $15,000,000 commercial truck accident: We secured this settlement for a person gravely injured by a major truck company.
- $8,500,000 commercial truck accident: We secured one of the largest verdicts for an unmarried person in Ohio’s history against Tyson Foods.
- $6,900,000 truck accident settlement: We secured this settlement near the end of a four-day trial against a trucking company whose driver ran over a stopped car, killing two of its occupants and injuring the third.
Securing settlements and verdicts against large trucking companies and their insurers is best handled by experienced truck accident attorneys. At Wisner Baum, our nationally-recognized Los Angeles trial attorneys have spent the last four decades helping truck accident victims obtain justice and have won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements in all areas of practice, including truck accidents.
If you or someone you love has been harmed in a truck crash, call (855) 948-5098 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.