Safety regulators in Florida shuttered a large, third-party commercial drivers license testing company after an investigation uncovered practices that posed “an immediate serious danger to the public health, safety and welfare” of others who share the road. Specifically, the state found the firm was not properly training its workers, left out key portions of a multi-part skills test and altered testing data to make it seem as if its students scored higher than they actually did.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has canceled its contract with the driving school, which up until then was the No. 3 biggest commercial driver license testing firm in the state, which locations from Miami to Labelle. Taking it even a step farther, the state agency ordered some 1,500 commercial truck drivers whose licenses were issued by the company to rush for a retake of their CDL tests, or else they would lose their right to legally operate a commercial vehicle (and thus likely their jobs).
According to TheDrive.com, when state investigators started examining claims that the books were cooked at the school, they sat in on the training and testing for existing students. With those investigators overseeing the process, the pass rate for CDL applicants plummeted from 60 percent to just 11 percent. That’s a solid indicator that the school had been passing students who weren’t properly trained and lacked the necessary skills to operate a mammoth commercial truck.
This is a major concern not just for the people operating these trucks and the companies that hired them, but also for all of us who share the roads with these drivers (which is pretty much everyone). A driver who is not properly trained cannot be trusted to know how to effectively handle a vehicle of that size – especially in an emergency.
One of the most recent reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on large truck crashes is based on 2015 data, but still offers valuable insight. Large trucks for purposes of the report are those with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more. Just in that single year, there were nearly 4,100 people who died and another 116,000 injured in truck accidents involving large trucks. That marked a 4 percent increase from the previous year. Three-fourths of those killed in these crashes were occupants of other vehicles and another 10 percent were “non-occupants” (i.e., bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.), making it clearly an issue with ripple effects far beyond the commercial trucker and the employer.
Florida has one of the highest number of truck crashes nationally, tallying 215 in a single year. Texas had more than double that (though Texas is five times the size, area-wise, of Florida), and almost double the population. California had nearly 300 fatal truck accidents that year, even though its land size is three times that of Florida’s.
Fatal truck accidents accounted for 5.3 percent of all Florida’s traffic crash deaths, again the third-highest in the nation. Scandals like this help us to understand why.
If you are seriously injured or a loved one killed in a large truck crash in South Florida, only trust your claim to an experienced attorney with proven success in helping others in your situation recover substantial damages.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Florida Says Commercial Truck Driving School Cooked Test Results, Nov. 17, 2017, By Kate Gibson, TheDrive.com
More Blog Entries:
More Than Just Your Word: Gathering Additional Evidence in Florida Car Accident Lawsuit, Jan. 18, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorney Blog