As Missouri truck accident lawyers, we know that auto accidents often happen because of driver-related factors, such as speeding, fatigue, distractedness, and drug or alcohol impairment, just to name a few. These accidents can have serious, life-altering consequences for innocent victims - especially when the unsafe driver is behind the wheel of a semi-truck.
Unsafe truckers can pose a serious threat to the innocent motorists traveling near them - and what's more, many of these unsafe drivers have previous safety violations or have had their commercial driver's licenses (CDL) revoked or suspended. And yet they are still obtaining employment as drivers in the trucking industry. In this post, we discuss how this happens and what measures are in place to try and eliminate the problem.
CDL fraud is one of the reasons truck drivers without a valid CDL or without safe driving skills can still get a job driving a commercial vehicle. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General released the results of an investigation into CDL fraud. The investigation discovered criminal activity in at least 16 jurisdictions, and large-scale fraud in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and North Carolina. At that point, thousands of CDL holders were retested nationwide.
Part of the problem was that drivers with inadequate skills were allowed to pass the test anyway. The responsibility of testing lies with the state. In 1986, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed, which requires each individual state to comply with federal commercial driver standards. Here in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Transportation administers CDL written tests and skill evaluations. In some states, a third party, or private company, administers the tests.
After the investigation...
Following the investigation, many truck driving schools and owners were convicted of fraud. One such company owner was convicted of falsifying the skills tests of 623 students, meaning that these truck drivers and many more like them were given a CDL when they did not qualify for one. Other cases involved bribing state testing officials. These practices put thousands of unsafe truck drivers on the road.
Since then, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented numerous measures to prevent this fraud. These measures included creating a safe driver data base, implementing a CDL third party testing anti-fraud system, and changing rules regarding the updating and sharing of driver's license records.Today, FMCSA officials are still working hard to reduce the number of fraudulent CDLs issued.