Unqualified Drivers Causing New Mexico Trucking Accidents: Trucking Company Liability

- Mark Caruso

When Trucking Companies Allow Unqualified Drivers to Operate Commercial Vehicles, the Trucking Companies are Liable for New Mexico Trucking Crashes

Driving a large commercial truck such as a big rig, 18-wheeler, semi, tanker, tandem trailer, tractor-trailer, flatbed, or any other large vehicle is not like driving a car.  Drivers must have additional experience and pass additional licensure requirements before they are legally allowed on the roads.  It is the responsibility of the truck driver to comply with these additional requirements and laws, but it is also always the requirement of the trucking company to ensure all of its drivers are qualified.

Unqualified drivers are simply more dangerous and likely to cause a serious New Mexico trucking crash.  With some of the largest and busiest trucking interstates in the United States, New Mexico’s I-40, I-25, and I-10 can already be very dangerous places.  Add inexperienced or unqualified driver and you have a recipe for deadly trucking cases.

Our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. have handled many of these types of fatal trucking crashes and know that victims deserve to be protected.  One of the most basic things that a trucking company can do is to avoid placing unqualified drivers on the road.  Unfortunately, far too many trucking companies simply do not care and put people on or around the roads at risk.  If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a commercial trucking crash caused by an unqualified driver, call us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can protect your rights to compensation.

What is a CDL and Why is it Required?

A CDL, or commercial driver’s license, is simply a driver’s license required to operate large commercial vehicles or trucks.  Almost every truck driver needs one.  To apply for a CDL in New Mexico, a driver needs to have a regular driver’s license and then take a CDL course.  There is a general knowledge written test which must be passed.  A CDL application must also pass a hand’s on behind-the-wheel driver’s test which tests the physical ability of the driver.  There are numerous other background and test submissions required as well.

The purpose of a CDL is to ensure that the drivers of large commercial vehicles know what they are doing and are trained, able, and knowledgeable about operating these types of motor vehicles.  The goal is to reduce the number of trucking crashes and injuries or fatalities caused by these trucking crashes.

Liability for Unqualified Truck Drivers

There is an extensive federal matrix of regulations applicable to all truck drivers throughout the United States.  Under 49 CFR 390.3 (a), the regulations apply to all employers, employees, and commercial vehicles transporting goods throughout multiple states.  Under 49 CFR 391.11 (a), “[a] person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle” which includes having a CDL.  Therefore, the burden is on the truck driver to comply with the licensing laws.  Thus if he or she fails to do so and causes a serious New Mexico trucking crash, the victim of such crash can use this to help establish liability.

Under 49 CFR 391.21, the trucking company must review the truck drivers application and ensure he or she has the requirements.  Moreover and more directly, 49 CFR  390.11 provides that, for the requirements of the regulations imposed on a driver or a prohibition on a driver, “it shall be the duty of the motor carrier to require observance of such duty or prohibition.  If the motor carrier is a driver, the driver shall likewise be bound.”

Therefore, where the violation of a regulation due to the truck driver being unqualified to drive, such as not having a CDL, the trucking company will be just as liable as the truck driver.  This is important because it allows victims to hold the trucking company—who are in the best position to police the drivers who they entrust with these very dangerous machines—liable for injuries or deaths of other people the roadways in New Mexico.

Unqualified Drivers Causing Crashes in New Mexico Are Liable to Victims of New Mexico Trucking Crashes, and So are Trucking Companies

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.