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Do truck drivers need special licenses to operate their rigs?

Prior posts on this New Orleans personal injury legal blog have discussed truck accident topics such as truck driver fatigue, distracted driving, and trucker log books. How a truck driver approaches the important task of driving their vehicle can play a huge role in whether that rig makes it to its destination safely or if it is involved in a life-threatening incident. One way that state and federal regulators seek to keep truck drivers on task and safely performing their important duties is through requiring them to hold special drivers' licenses to operate large vehicles.

Truck drivers must pass a specialized skills and knowledge test in order to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The examination includes a written portion that ensures drivers understand important safety and operational rules and also requires them to pass a driving test that evaluates their handling of a large vehicle. Drivers who are required to drive even more specialized large vehicles, such as those with multiple trailers, those hauling tanks or hazardous substances, and those that carry passengers must pass additional evaluations to hold license endorsements.

Drivers who hold CDLs may not do so in more than one state, and drivers are required to maintain their licenses. Just as standard drivers' licenses must be renewed and drivers may have to be reevaluated to keep their driving privileges, so too must truck drivers stay current on their licensing requirements. A truck driver that allows their license to lapse may put other motorists in harm's way due to their failure to stay current on safe truck driving practices.

Licensed and unlicensed truck drivers cause accidents on American roads and put innocent people at risk of injury and death. A truck accident can be a devastating blow to a family that can cost them heavily, both emotionally and financially. Those that are struggling to overcome the financial burden of experiencing an accident with a large truck or commercial vehicle may wish to discuss their litigation options with personal injury attorneys who understand the legal challenges that they face.

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