Large trucks barrel up and down New York state roads and highways every day. Truckers shuttle cargo across the GW Bridge and points further north along the congested lanes of the Thruway and New York City streets. Delivery vehicles take packages and goods to homes and businesses from the Bronx to the Financial District along every avenue in the city.
Given the large number of trucks traveling through New York, you may assume truck drivers have the necessary requirements to be driving and are operating their truck in the safest manner possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. All too often New York truck accidents involve unqualified truck drivers and negligence on the part of both the truck driver and trucking company with lax safety protocols like not performing driver background checks.
New York Truck Driver Qualifications
To drive a commercial truck in New York, you must have a New York commercial driver license (CDL). The basic requirements for a New York CDL include:
- Be at least 18 years old, though you must 21 to drive a commercial truck across state lines;
- Have a basic New York State drivers license;
- Have 20/40 vision, with or without glasses;
- Be able to see and identify the colors red, green and yellow
Per federal regulations, be able to obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certification that states you are physically fit enough to operate a commercial vehicle
Along with these basic requirements, prospective New York CDL drivers must complete a knowledge test and apply for a CDL in person in order to obtain a learner’s permit from a DMV – located across NYS and NYC.
Effective February 2022, according to the New York DMV, if you are applying for a CDL for the first time or adding a Hazmat, Passenger or School But endorsement for the first time, you must complete entry-level driver training (ELDT) prior to taking a road test.
Once a driver obtains a learner’s permit, he or she can practice driving with a supervising driver before taking a road test by scheduling with the New York Road Test Scheduling System. Many truck drivers may choose to learn how to drive a truck through formal training in a truck driving school, though that is not required.
CDL restrictions defined below by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may affect CLP holders when taking a Skills Test in a vehicle without full airbrakes and/or a manual transmission
Certain endorsements may have additional requirements for truck drivers. For instance, in order to drive any commercial passenger trucks, like a charter bus, drivers must also pass a fingerprint background check and take an additional test. There may also be federal requirements for certain endorsements.
New York Truck Driver Disqualifications
Through the federally-established Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA) mandate, truck drivers face “uniform testing and licensing standards” designed to better highway safety. Commercial drivers face penalties and disqualification from a CDL (temporarily or permanently) for actions such as traffic violations that cause an accident to serious crimes like drinking and driving. In New York, those who hold a CDL and are convicted of driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident or multiple traffic violations face consequences such as one year suspension for the first offense to permanent revocation after the second.
New York Unqualified Truck Drivers and Liability
Trucking companies and businesses that own trucking fleets owe a duty of care to the general public. This includes the obligation to exercise a certain level of safety and caution when operating their business. Checking to make sure that drivers are qualified and trained as well as pass a background check is exercising appropriate caution and prudence. A company that hires an unqualified driver or driver that would not pass a background check can be found to be negligent.
At the same time, unqualified drivers may also be found negligent and be held liable for an accident. Even if the truck driver is not directly employed by the owner of the transport or truck company, both the trucking company and driver can be held liable for an accident that is the result of negligence.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, New York Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Are you considering talking to a New York attorney about an injury you or a loved one sustained in a truck accident? At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassion and empathy and want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, we can get you the justice you deserve.