Commercial driving may seem relatively straightforward, but it is not as easy as it looks. Commercial truck drivers need special licenses. There are also medical exams, hours-of-service rules and other necessary regulatory measures.
Most importantly, however, truck drivers need to be cautious and defensive behind the wheel. Accidents involving semi-trucks are often fatal for occupants of smaller vehicles. And when truck drivers deliberately violate regulatory measures or operate in an unsafe way, they become a fatal accident waiting to happen.
One tragic case occurred on the Maine Turnpike in November 2016. After failing to slow down in response to slowing traffic on the highway, the truck driver slammed into a smaller passenger vehicle, crushing it between his own truck and a semi in front of the small car. The two occupants of the car, including a small boy, were killed.
According to news reports, the driver responsible for causing the accident should not have been cleared to drive across state lines. He allegedly concealed his diabetes in order to get medical clearance to drive, which is a federal crime. The man had reportedly been denied clearance by his doctor in May of last year because he is insulin-dependent, making it unsafe for him to drive long distances. But four months later, the man simply went to a different doctor and hid the fact that that he had a disqualifying medical condition.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the truck driver also allegedly has a horrendous safety record. In December, his one-man trucking company was deemed an imminent hazard to public safety and was taken out of service by regulators.
Many commercial truck drivers are safety-conscious and responsible. But those who violate laws, regulations and common sense are a serious hazard to all other drivers on the road. When they cause a serious accident, these dangerous drivers deserve to be prosecuted criminally and named in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.