The single largest contributing factor to fatal Missouri tractor trailer accidents is driver error. While certain crashes may have be unforeseeable and unavoidable, other drivers have a history of poor driving habits that should have been an indicator of their chances of causing an accident in the future. In order to keep these unsafe drivers from behind the wheel of a tractor trailer, the FMCSA has established regulations for the hiring and retention of drivers.
There are a number of requirements that a driver must meet before he can be hired on by a commercial trucking company. He or she must pass a written test on federal tractor trailer regulations. A road test must also be completed to prove that the driver can handle a big rig. A drug test must also be passed.
The employer must also complete an extensive background check on the potential driver. The driver’s record over the past three years must be examined no matter what state the driver was in over those years. Past employers dating back three years must also be contacted and questioned about the driver’s competence and safety record. All of the background check information must be documented and kept in the driver’s file.
Once hired, there are additional rules for the retention of any tractor trailer driver. Evey year a performance review must occur and any driving violations must be examined. A series of random drug test may be administered as well. An employee file containing all relevant records must be kept while the driver is employed and for three years after.
If any of these regulations are violated, the company may be held liable for negligent hiring practices. It is not uncommon for important documents to be forged and tests to be passed without merit. This can mean an unqualified and unsafe driver is allowed on the road to cause a serious accident. A skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer will be able to determine if any negligent hiring practices may have lead to an unsafe driver being retained by a trucking company.