Red Flags in a Truck Driver’s History Can Impact Your Personal Injury Claim
For the last few years, the trucking industry has been struggling to attract new employees and fill open positions. Older drivers are retiring, and younger drivers are worried about the push toward autonomous trucks that will almost eliminate the need for drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry expects a shortage of 175,000 workers by 2024.
Many trucking companies are relaxing their hiring standards to fill the surplus of open positions, but relaxed standards often lead to underprepared and careless drivers. In their desperation to fill positions, is the trucking industry making our roads more dangerous?
If you’ve been in a truck wreck, keep reading to learn how red flags in the truck driver’s history can affect your personal injury case.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Truck Driver Shortage Is Getting Worse – And More Dangerous
Who Can Drive a Commercial Truck in Washington?
The standards for truck driver employment in the state of Washington are low. To drive a truck carrying hazardous materials or have routes that will cross state lines, drivers only need to:
- Be 21 years old
- Have a valid Washington driver’s license
- Pass a physical and vision exam
- Have a clean driving record with no DUI’s in the last three years
To drive a truck within the state of Washington, drivers only need to be 18 years old. The minimum age is one of the standards that the industry is trying to change for interstate drivers so they can recruit teens straight out of high school. That’s concerning enough on its own but isn’t the only tactic truck companies are using to find more employees. As demand for drivers continue to outpace supply, many trucking companies are employing drivers with criminal backgrounds.
How Truck Driver Criminal and Driving Records Can Affect Your Injury Case
Criminals aren’t inherently bad drivers, but their history of poor driving, alcohol or drug abuse, or blatant disregard for the law can impact your claim. In many cases, red flags in a truck driver’s history won’t cause them to lose their commercial driving license or disqualify them from being hired. But if the truck driver has a history of dangerous or negligent behavior, these red flags can sometimes help strengthen your claim that the truck driver was negligent and owes you compensation for your injuries.
Red Flags in a Driver’s History
While some truck companies are hiring ex-cons as drivers, they are unlikely to want to employ people convicted of violent crimes. However, many other convictions may indicate someone is unfit for the job, and some non-criminal behaviors and conditions are also red flags that many truck companies ignore. Some of these include:
How Do These Behaviors Affect Your Claim?
Truck accident attorneys have experience digging into driver records and uncovering histories of dangerous behaviors. Which records and behaviors may affect your case will depend on the circumstances of the crash. For example, if the truck driver exhibited signs of impatience or road rage at the time of the crash and has any aggression-related criminal charges, this can help support your claim. In general, having a criminal record also reduces the truck driver’s credibility and standing, which could help if your case goes to trial.
Some states won’t allow exploration of the trucking company’s negligence if the company admits the driver was 100 percent at fault and agrees to pay for a judgment against the driver. At Seattle Truck Law, we often find that once we start exploring the company’s failures, they quickly admit the driver’s liability to hide their own negligence.
Seattle Truck Law: Experienced Truck Wreck Attorneys
The attorneys at Seattle Truck Law can investigate your crash to uncover all the factors involved in causing your truck wreck, including driver behavior and company negligence. Our truck accident attorneys have experience handling the complex process of truck litigation and working to reconstruct the accident, collect medical records, secure expert testimonies, and oppose insurance companies.
Costello, B. (2017, October). Truck Driver Shortage Analysis 2017. Arlington, VA: American Trucking Associations. Retrieved from
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.