Licensing For Truck Drivers and Proving Negligence

We have represented many victims of negligent truck drivers who have caused accidents in Massachusetts. What is required for securing, and maintaining, a license to drive a truck in Massachusetts? Once involved in a collision, what information do we need to prove negligence?

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Requirements

The Mass DOT requires a Commercial Drivers License for all drivers who transport 16 or more people in a single vehicle, for all drivers who operate a vehicle that weights more than 26,001 pounds when loaded, or whenever transporting hazardous materials. Furthermore, there is a CDL class for drivers who tow another vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

There are age requirements as well. You must be 21 in order to get a CDL license to drive across state lines.

Background Checks for Commercial Drivers Licenses

The Mass DOT requires your license to be in good standing before taking the CDL test. However, while criminal background checks are not required by the Mass DOT for taking the CDL test, many employers require the same.

In fact, at depositions involving commercial truck drivers, we always ask an owner of a truck about the driver’s criminal record; and we ask the driver about his or her record. If there is a criminal record, we look to the specific crimes. Were they related to driving safety? While a criminal record for violence may not be allowed into evidence in a trial for negligent driving, a criminal record for leaving the scene of an accident, or drunk driving, should certainly be allowed into evidence against a company hiring a driver who is subsequently involved in a motor vehicle accident.

CDL Driving Records

What about the Department of Motor Vehicle driving records? These records are obtainable for all drivers, including Mass CDL drivers. We obtain those records in cases involving collisions with trucks.

We scrutinize those records. The driver’s history is critical. Failure to stay within marked lanes, for example, in a case where the truck was illegally attempting to pass, could be presented into evidence. Remember, we are often trying to prove that both the driver was negligence, and the fact that the employer, or truck owner, was negligent in hiring or retaining the driver knowing of their propensity to drive negligently.

CDL, Experience and Training

What other “evidence” are we examining when investigating a negligent truck driver? We look at the experience and training of the driver. How long have they been driving trucks? What kind of trucks? Where were they trained? How were they trained? Are they consistently driving the same type of truck? The same truck?

In a deposition regarding a collision on Route 2 in Lincoln, Massachusetts, the truck driver admitted that the truck he was driving in the accident he caused was similar to the trucks he drove all the time, however, this particular truck he had never driven and the brakes were “different.”

Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured by a negligent truck driver, seek the assistance of an attorney who has experience in aggressively pursuing drivers in court.

Attorney Neil Burns and Roshan Jain have represented victims of motor vehicle accidents and truck accidents since 1985.