Truck AccidentsThe Rookie Risk: How Inexperienced Truck Drivers Endanger Everyone on the Road

May 15, 20240

Truck driving is a demanding job that requires skills and experience to perform safely. Inexperienced truck drivers who lack the necessary qualifications and training to operate large commercial vehicles endanger themselves and everyone sharing the roads with them. This dangerous problem impacts all road users and needs to be addressed.

Lack of Training Leads to Preventable Accidents

Operating a large, heavy truck is extremely different from driving a regular passenger car. Trucks have huge blind spots, take much longer to speed up and slow down, and need extra room for turning. New truck drivers who are thrust behind the wheel without sufficient schooling are not fully prepared for these challenges. Their insufficient training leads to preventable accidents – there were 120k large truck accidents in 2022, some of which were caused by inexperienced drivers.

Proper training gives drivers the skills to avoid mistakes that cause collisions. Putting novice drivers on the road without this foundation needlessly endangers everyone.

Difficulty Handling the Size and Weight of Trucks

Truck drivers have a much larger and heavier vehicle to control compared to other motorists. The average 18-wheeler weighs up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. New truckers often struggle to judge the speed of these large trucks and navigate turns and stops. They misgauge how much space they need, leading to problems like clipping the mirrors of cars near them. Inadequate practice hauling heavy loads can also cause issues like brake failure going downhill.

Lack of Experience Reading Road Hazards

Scanning for road hazards and anticipating dangerous situations is a skill gained from time behind the wheel. New truckers do not have the experience to identify risks like sudden changes in road conditions or other drivers acting erratically. Missing these clues can mean they do not slow down or move over in time to avoid a crash.

For example, coming up fast on slowed traffic is a common cause of huge pile-up accidents, especially during poor weather. An experienced truck driver recognizes these subtle cues but rookies often do not, and are more likely to slam into unexpected slowdowns.

Insufficient Practice Driving Long Hours

Truckers often drive for over 10 hours in a day, which is exhausting. Fatigue and highway hypnosis become major risks without adjusting to long hauls. Inexperienced big rig drivers struggle to handle the mental drain and physical strain from spending so many continuous hours driving. Lack of practice pushing through fatigue leads to nodding off behind the wheel, wandering out of the lane, and delayed response to dangers. These tired mistakes result in drivers crashing into other vehicles or leaving the road altogether, with deadly outcomes. Getting sufficient training time logging long daily driving hours helps build the stamina to operate trucks safely.

Lack of Resisting Pressure from Trucking Companies

Trucking companies often pressure new drivers to take on demanding assignments, move faster, drive longer hours, and operate in dangerous weather. The stress and intimidation from employers can push inexperienced truckers to go against their better judgment. A rookie may get dispatched on a tight deadline in an unfamiliar area, or ordered to drive beyond the hours of service limits in risky road conditions. Without the skills to effectively deal with this coercion, new drivers end up in precarious situations that too often end in tragedy.

Potential Actions to Improve Safety

Clearly, something must be done to get poorly trained novice truck drivers either up to speed on safe driving practices or off the road before they cause devastating accidents. Here are some measures that can improve safety:

  • Require more rigorous driver training programs and certification exams to verify proficiency for all new truck drivers before licensing them.
  • Increase regulation and oversight of trucking schools and training programs to ensure uniform quality instruction.
  • Extend the probationary learning period for new commercial drivers from 1 year to 18 months, with stricter monitoring, before they can drive alone.
  • Implement mandatory additional training through trucking employers after licensing, overseen by regulatory agencies, to reinforce skills.
  • Increase scrutiny and regular check-ins for first-time truck drivers by safety officials to nurture good driving habits.
  • Develop better methods for screening applicants seeking to start truck driving careers to identify risky attitudes like impatience.
  • Expand public education campaigns to build awareness on sharing the road safely with large trucks.

With a deliberate effort to improve training and oversight for new truckers, we can reduce the risk they pose to themselves and the driving public. Only experience behind the wheel, guided by quality instructors, will get rookies proficient at operating safely. Removing under-prepared drivers now will prevent horrific crashes in the future.

Contact us if you have been involved in a truck accident. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. You can visit our office at the address below.

16633 Ventura Blvd. #602 Encino, CA 91436.

Call now for a free consultation on (818) 659-8588.