Truck Accidents Caused by Unqualified Drivers

Missouri Trucking Accidents are Often Caused by Unqualified Drivers

In order to drive a commercial vehicle or tractor-trailer in interstate commerce, a driver must be qualified under the federal regulations.  St. Louis truck accident lawyers should be able to identify when a driver should not be driving a trucking accident.  A review of a motor carrier’s file on a truck driver will provide a trucking lawyer with the information to determine if a driver should have been driving the truck at the time of an accident. 

What Are the General Driver Qualification Rules?

Part 391.11 of the FMCSRs sets forth general rules to be followed when qualifying a driver.  With minor exceptions, a truck driver must:

(1) Be at least 21 years old;
(2) Be able to read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;
(3) By reason of experience, training, or both, be able to safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;
(4) Be physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with Part 391.41-49;
(5) Have a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator's license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;
(6) Have prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with the list of violations of motor vehicle traffic laws and ordinances other than parking violations as set forth in art 391.27;
(7) Not be disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in  Part 391.15 (see below); and
(8) Have successfully completed a driver's road test and has been issued a certificate of driver's road test in accordance with Part 391.31, or have presented an operator's license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test in accordance with Part 391.33. 

What Disqualifies a Truck Driver from Driving a Commercial Vehicle?

 A driver cannot operate an eighteen-wheeler or tractor-trailer unless he or she meets the requirements listed above.  In addition, Part 391.15 of the safety regulations provides specific reasons that a driver will be disqualified, including:

(1) If the driver has a revoked, suspended, or withdrawn privilege to operate a commercial vehicle;
(2) If a driver is convicted of or forfeits bond for any of the following offenses:
    - Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent or more
    - Driving under the influence of alcohol under State law
    - Refusing to undergo alcohol or controlled substance testing
    - Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of controlled substances;
    - Leaving the scene of an accident while operating a commercial vehicle;
    - Committing a felony while operating a commercial vehicle;
    - Texting while operating a commercial vehicle;
    - Violating the restrictions on using a hand-held telephone while operating a commercial vehicle.

The period of time for which a driver will be disqualified depends on whether the driver has prior convictions for the offense at issue.  For more information on disqualifying offenses click here or contact us.





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