Commercial truck drivers operating 18-wheelers, tankers, big rigs, and other commercial trucks must pass special commercial driver’s license training programs and tests. The tests and training are intended to make these motorists safer on the roads and aim to prevent collisions. In an effort to reduce trucking collisions in Miami and other cities, some safety advocates have been recommending changes be made to the commercial driver licensing programs to ensure that they provide the best measure of training to make drivers safe.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also announced a study of the commercial license programs. Recently, the agency studies the use of simulators in the training and testing of commercial drivers. The FMCSA compared four types of training, including CDL-focused training (which just focuses on giving drivers enough information to pass the road test), informal training (which is not structured and not intended for certification), conventional training (which involves 44 hours of road training and 104 hours of training the classroom) and simulator training (which involves having at least 60% of road training performed on a simulator). Study results showed that simulator training and conventional training resulted in significantly higher test scores when drivers had to actually pass their licensing tests.
The Role of Simulators
Many safety advocates would not be surprised by the FMCSA findings. Safety experts have long advocated the use of simulators in truck driver testing and training. This is because simulators:
- Give drivers a clear view of the virtual road, thanks to the large monitors
- Simulate the experience of driving realistically
- Allow drivers and instructors to test real-time response times
- Can be programmed with different weather conditions and even different truck accident situations, allowing drivers to be safely tested in a variety of potentially very dangerous situations
- Can be programed to deal with rolling, heaving, pitching, and other conditions that can be hard to reproduce in traditional road training
Based on the results of the study, the FMCSA concluded that simulator training and testing may be effective in helping to train commercial drivers. Many training programs for truckers already offer simulator training. One potential obstacle is that the hardware and software for these systems is expensive and may increase the costs of training and costs for schools. So far, there is no requirement demanding that truck drivers be tested or trained using simulators.
Have you been injured in a trucking collision in South Florida? One question you will want to ask after your crash is whether the truck driver was undertrained. Poor driver training leads to a number of preventable crashes and in these situations injured parties may have a legal claim against the driver and against any truck carrier that failed to properly screen, test, and train its drivers.
To find out whether you have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group, a personal injury law firm in South Florida. Our offices are located in Hollywood, Miami, and Homestead, so that our team of attorneys can help injured persons across the region. If you have been injured, we may be able to offer over-the-phone advice or meet you in our offices. If your injuries prevent you from traveling, we may even be able to meet with you in your home or hospital room. Your initial consultation with our law firm is free of charge and comes with no commitment, so do not delay in contacting our legal team if you have been injured.