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Last year, federal investigators discovered over 100 commercial truck drivers bribed California DMV employees to get illegal Class A drivers’ licenses. For an under-the-table fee of up to $5,000 each, DMV employees altered computer information to dishonestly show that drivers had passed written and behind-the-wheel tests. Commercial truck drivers are required to be in possession of a Class A license in order to operate trucks, including 18-wheel cargo semitrailers. Applicants must pass both a written test and a behind-the-wheel test that is offered at a limited number of California DMV locations, making them harder to obtain than a regular (Class C) license. And rightfully so; commercial truck accidents can be far more traumatic than a typical car accident. Given the size and weight of the vehicles, the drivers need to be in control at all times.
Allowing unqualified drivers to operate heavy commercial trucks on our highways is honestly quite chilling.”-Carol Webster, U.S. Homeland Security Investigation
There is an excellent reason why commercial truck drivers are required to pass two tests and get a special license: there is a lot of mechanical information that must be understood in order to keep the equipment properly maintained. A pre-trip inspection should be made every single time the truck is driven. See if you can answer the following questions from the sample commercial driver’s written test: Driving a big rig is not at all like getting into a Toyota Prius and pressing the start button. The air brakes alone are a complicated system that must be frequently repaired. Failure to do so puts not only the driver in danger, but everyone else on the road. Let’s look at two more questions from the California DMV’s sample test: Can you imagine sharing a street or freeway with a truck driver who does not know the answer to these questions? There are plenty of other potential hazards, such as drunk or distracted driving, unsafe speeds, and exhaustion which make driving a large truck like operating a weapon. It’s startling to think that some people were willing to put the public in danger by ignoring the immense responsibility and getting a license illegally.
If you’ve been in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, your legal team will dispatch investigators to uncover every detail around the incident. If it turns out that the truck’s driver was licensed illegally, that would of course be an important factor in your case. The sooner your truck accident lawyer gets started investigating after your accident, the better.
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