Texas Truck Licensing FraudLast updated on: February 17, 2022
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH TEXAS TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
A truck accident can happen for many reasons, but when drivers have not been correctly licensed, they are more likely to lack the skills and training to prevent accidents. A truck crash can leave victims with significant financial and emotional burdens including medical bills, car repairs, and pain and suffering.
Let us help you hold fraudsters accountable. The truck licensing fraud attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience representing truck accident victims and getting the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free attorney consultation with an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer.
TEXAS TRUCK LICENSING FRAUD
With over 185,000 people employed in the truck industry, Texas is home to the most truck drivers in the country. While the exact number of fraudulent truck drivers is difficult to determine, any driver who has not completed proper training and education before getting behind the wheel of a truck can cause serious accidents and injuries for Texas drivers.
When documents, tests, and licenses are falsified, truck drivers can end up on the road with little to no training. A non-licensed truck driver can cause serious injuries, damage, and trauma for drivers after an accident that could have been prevented if the driver had followed the legal steps to obtain a trucking license.
WHAT KIND OF TRUCK LICENSING FRAUD EXISTS?
Truck driver licensing fraud can occur at many different points throughout the required legal licensing procedure. The US Department of Transportation investigates schemes designed to avoid the licensing process and regulations intended to keep drivers safe. Some of the common types of licensing fraud include:
Before drivers can attain a truck license, they must present several documents, such as social security numbers and medical history certificates. A forged medical certificate can have especially serious consequences. A medical examination is intended to screen for conditions that could cause drivers to lose control or fall asleep at the wheel. When this step is not followed, drivers more likely to crash are able to obtain their licenses.
Bribery undermines the public’s trust in the licensing system. In Texas, a recent FBI investigation revealed that individuals paid public safety members to obtain a commercial driver’s license in a bribery scheme. Over the course of two years, 215 fraudulent licenses were issued, meaning that drivers without proper training were on the road.
Cheating on Tests
Drivers need to pass a written and skills exam to obtain their license. There have been cases where it was discovered that drivers had a Bluetooth device in their ear and an outside party gave them the answers during the written test. When drivers do not know the rules of the road, they are more likely to cause an accident.
Falsified Exam Scores
In 2019, a Texas DPS employee pled guilty to a truck licensing fraud scheme after an FBI investigation revealed that he falsely reported that applicants had passed the skills test portion of the trucking licensing requirements. The employee would then print out temporary licenses for the applicants, and Texas would send them a permanent license assuming they had satisfied all of the requirements, putting untrained truckers on the road.
WHAT DO TRUCK DRIVERS NEED TO LEGALLY DRIVE IN TEXAS?
To legally drive a truck in Texas, drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This type of license demonstrates that truck drivers have complied with the minimum education, training, and licensing requirements required by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Before drivers are able to receive their CDL, they must receive a passing grade of at least 80% on a multiple-choice test. This exam is intended to test a driver’s knowledge of road and traffic safety, transportation laws, and technical and safety protocols.
Road Skills Test
After drivers have successfully passed the knowledge test, drivers must pass a road skills test. This test is intended to ensure that prospective truck drivers can safely operate a truck. It includes maneuvers such a backing up, docking, and handling normal traffic situations.
If an individual seeking a CDL is also the owner of their vehicle, a safety inspection will be performed to certify that all of the equipment requirements and registration requirements have been met. The minimum standards for liability insurance will also be determined.
Read More: Semi Truck Tire Blowout Accidents
If a driver fails to pass any of the above minimum requirements, then conditions will be placed on their license until the driver completes additional training and passes the required tests.
COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE
In Texas, there are three basic commercial driver’s license classes. This system is based on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). All drivers who hold a valid CDL may drive the vehicles in the class for which that license is issued, as long as all applicable restrictions and endorsements are followed.
Drivers with a Class A CDL can operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL and any appropriate endorsements can also operate all vehicles included in Classes B and C.
This type of license includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,001 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Texas Class B CDL and appropriate endorsements can also operate all vehicles in Class C.
A Class C license permits the holder to operate any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not in Class A or B if the vehicle is designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers including the driver, or used in the transportation of hazardous materials.
Depending on the type of vehicle and what a driver transports, additional certifications or “endorsements” may be needed. To obtain an endorsement, drivers must complete additional testing requirements. The endorsements are needed to operate a vehicle in the following areas:
- T: This endorsement allows holders to tow a double or triple trailer
- P: Holders can operate a vehicle that carries a specific number of passengers
- N: Allows drivers to operate a tank vehicle designed to safely transport liquid or liquefied gaseous materials
- H: Drivers can transport hazardous materials, such as flammable or combustible liquids, gases, or explosives. Drivers are required to complete a comprehensive state and federal background check to obtain an H Endorsement
- S: Drivers need this endorsement to operate a school bus
- X: This endorsement is a combination of N and H Endorsements and allows drivers to transport hazardous materials in a tank vehicle
CONSEQUENCES OF UNTRAINED AND UNLICENSED DRIVING
Unlicensed drivers can pose a serious risk to other drivers on the road. While it is hard to measure the exact number of unlicensed and untrained truck drivers on the road, Texas continues to be one of the deadliest states for trucking accidents. , 705 died and 12,463 people were injured in large truck or bus accidents. Untrained drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors and more likely than licensed drivers to be at fault in an accident.
Even truck drivers who have completed proper training and practice may still be occasionally be involved in trucking accidents. However, without training, the chances of a driver injuring you and your loved ones increases. An untrained driver may:
- Fail to inspect and maintain their vehicle, which can help prevent accidents
- Flip a truck over and cause a serious accident
- Be unable to calculate the required time to come to a complete stop and crash into another car
- Speed and crash into another car
- Be unaware of height limitations and attempt to drive under a bridge or overpass that is too low for the truck
- Carry a load that is too heavy or light and jackknife the truck
- Improperly hitch the truck trailer, allowing it to come unhinged and injure drivers
- Turn too fast or narrowly and hit another car
Read More: Common Causes of Truck Accidents
CONTACT OUR TEXAS TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our CDL fraud lawyers have helped many truck accident victims seek the compensation they deserved after suffering in an accident. We will fight for our clients’ right to compensation for hospital bills, car damage, pain and suffering, and much more.
We believe a truck accident victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.