Will Florida's new CDL training for truckers make highways safer?

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Santa Clara, CAAll across the country, truck drivers are making their way down the highways and interstates. The American economy depends on these hard working men and women to transport our products from the manufacturer to our homes and stores. This means that our roadways are being shared by large semi-trucks and smaller passenger cars and that can sometimes lead to dangerous conditions--including truck accidents.

Trucking companies work diligently to ensure that all of their drivers have met the required criteria, such as being properly licensed, logging hours and ensuring that their equipment has been properly maintained and cared for. It is important to both the government and the trucking industry that the roads remain as safe as possible for all drivers. As technology advances, so do the requirements and the methods of monitoring truck drivers.

What types of accidents are the FMCSA and trucking companies working to prevent?

Auto accidents are bound to happen, that is an unfortunate effect of driving. However, it is important that the government and trucking companies work together to build a safer driving environment for everyone. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government entity in charge of setting the rules, guidelines and expectations for commercial drivers all across the United States.

The way the FMCSA is able to regulate these guidelines and expectations is with the CDL, the commercial driver’s license. Some of the requirements that must be met in order to obtain a CDL are as follows:
  • You must be 21 years old or older in order to cross state lines and/or handle transport hazardous material.
  • You must have no prior felonies that would disqualify you from obtaining a CDL. Some, but not all, felonies will prevent you from being eligible for a commercial driver’s license.
  • You must complete an entry-level driver’s training program specified by the state where you are interested in obtaining your CDL.

Even though there are multiple ways that both the FMCSA and trucking companies try to prevent big rig accidents from occurring, you cannot prevent everything. The following are some of the most common Florida truck accidents:

  • Failure to yield - this includes when drivers fail to stop at a stop sign, yield at a yield sign or obey a traffic light. This can be especially dangerous with 18-wheelers because they take more time and distance than usual to stop.
  • Speeding - when a driver fails to obey the speed limit, they are considered speeding. Speeding can be dangerous because big trucks do not have the maneuverability or braking ability to accommodate reckless driving.
  • Road construction zones - These areas can be very tricky for truck drivers to navigate. Often the lane narrows and becomes uneven. The speed limit is lowered to help drivers maintain a safe driving zone, it is important to obey the road signs.
  • Weather conditions - In weather where there is snow, sleet, strong wind and/or rain, large tractor trailers are going to have a more difficult time on the road. It is important for passenger vehicle drivers and other motorists to be aware of the truckers around them.
  • Override accidents - These kinds of accidents occur when a big rig hits a car from behind, sometimes going over the back of the car. This can cause a serious accident. It is important to keep in mind that you cannot slam on your brakes around 18-wheelers. Truck drivers also need to be diligent in keeping their focus on what is happening in front of them so they can make sure they have enough time to respond.
  • Underride accidents - These accidents are the opposite of override accidents. In these accidents, a car runs into the back of a semi truck and gets stuck. This can lead to very serious injuries and in some cases, death.
  • Jackknife truck accidents - these accidents occur when a big rig loses control of their trailer. It swings wide and ends up perpendicular to the semi truck. This can end up causing accidents by the sudden blocking of the road and serious injuries can occur.

There are many ways things can go wrong on the road and cause an accident. Motorists of all kinds need to be aware of what they are doing, operating a piece of machinery that could cause a lot of damage to property and people alike if not handled properly.

If you have been involved in an accident with a semi truck, it is important that you stay on the scene. Contact the proper authorities and allow yourself to be seen and treated by the emergency medical technicians. You should also use your cellphone to collect evidence if you are able to. Pictures, videos and voice recordings from witness and yourself can be very helpful for your insurance company, the police and also your personal injury attorney if you decide to hire one.

What are the new requirements for obtaining a CDL?

With the constantly changing environment of transporting goods in a faster manner, it is important to make sure that the roads are also kept as safe as possible. In the past, there have not been consistent standards for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. Recent changes, however, are looking to change that and provide more structural guidelines.

These new guidelines are called the “Entry-Level Driver Training” requirements. This is a curriculum created by the FMCSA and any driver looking to get a CDL must prove that they have taken the federal curriculum with a federal instructor. This curriculum includes a theory portion and a driving portion, as well as needing to obtain a CDL permit and the usual CDL guidelines.

The trucking industry has stated that this could make it harder to find drivers, since the testing for CDLs can cost between $3000-$7000 dollars per person. Companies are having to decide if they can afford to hire drivers and pay for their testing, when there is already a shortage of drivers.

The new CDL requirements, which became an official requirement in February 2022, are meant to make sure the roads stay safe for truck drivers and other motorists and travelers. The testing may help improve the quality of drivers but has not helped with the quantity of drivers.

Will the new CDL guidelines make the highways of Florida safer?

Only time can tell if the new CDL guidelines will make the highways safer in Florida. There is no denying the urgent need for a new generation of truck drivers, but it is also important that the truckers who are on the road have passed rigorous testing and have met a high series of qualifications. In order to keep up with the changing world and technology, those standards must occasionally be modified in order to meet the new needs.

We depend upon and appreciate the hard work that truck drivers all across America do every day. It is a service to them to make sure that they are in a job they are prepared and qualified for. It is also a service to the other drivers on the road to keep them safe while they travel to their destination. Working together, truck drivers and the other motorists on the roads can help reduce the amount of accidents that occur.

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