Drivers who do not complete the required training and secure the necessary certifications are unqualified to operate large trucks in the United States. Unqualified truck drivers do not possess the necessary skills and have not demonstrated the knowledge to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. These drivers are dangerous and can easily cause serious injuries or wrongful deaths when they get behind the wheel.

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Minimum Truck Driver Qualifications

Federal regulations establish basic minimums that anyone wishing to operate a commercial motor vehicle must satisfy. These include the ability to read and understand English, being at least 21 years of age, passing a medical examination, and completing and successfully passing the CDL examination. 

Drivers must also submit to regular drug and alcohol testing, maintain log books confirming HOS compliance, and maintain a “clean” driving record when not operating a commercial motor vehicle. Employers must also complete background checks and thoroughly investigate the driving and criminal history of their drivers

Disqualification of a Commercial Vehicle Driver

CDL’s are not granted for life. Drivers can be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle due to a number of infractions. These include multiple convictions for reckless driving, speeding in excess of 15mph over the limit, improper lane changes, following too closely, and texting while driving. Drivers who are convicted of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, DUI, or DWI can also lose their license. Drivers and their employers are required to monitor the condition of the commercial motor vehicle and ensure that it is properly maintained, serviced, and repaired. These infractions are closely monitored and punishments are rigorously enforced.  

The Rising Problem of Unqualified Drivers

There is a considerable shortage of commercial truck drivers in the United States. By 2026, it’s expected to reach more than 175,000 drivers. The shortage, caused by retirement and coupled with increases in online shopping and a stable economy, means that more goods are traveling across American roads than ever before. Companies seeking to meet this demand and benefit from the opportunities it creates are hiring drivers with minimal qualifications and training. 

Qualified drivers cost more than unqualified drivers. Drivers with more experience cost more than drivers with a newly granted CDL. The bottom line is that unqualified drivers cost less, but end up costing more when they cause injuries or deaths. When this happens, it is the public at large who pays the greatest price.