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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Car Accident > Feds Extend Commercial Driver Qualification Waiver

Feds Extend Commercial Driver Qualification Waiver


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will continue to allow unskilled operators to operate big rig trucks, at least until March 2023.

FMCSA has issued waivers from the restriction that limits a state to administer a CDL skills test only to an out-of-state CDL applicant who has taken driver training in that state. The waiver also lifts the rule that commercial learner’s permit holders are not eligible to take the CDL skills test in the first 14 days after the initial issuance of the commercial learner’s permit.

Bureaucrats claimed the latest waiver is in the public interest, “to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver,” according to the order.

First Party Liability

The same duty of care applies to all drivers, regardless of age or experience. Most commercial drivers in South Carolina have a duty of utmost care. They must go above and beyond to prevent accidents.

Recommended following distance is a good example. Most noncommercial drivers should keep about two seconds between themselves and the vehicles immediately in front of them. Most truckers should maintain at least a seven second following distance.

Because of the higher duty of care, tailgating even slightly is usually negligence, or a lack of care. If a lack of care caused injury, a Columbia car accident attorney can obtain compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Additionally, the duty of care begins before truckers get behind the wheel. They need not perform careful vehicle inspections, like state safety inspections. However, they must visually inspect their rigs and address any possible problems. Moreover, once they start driving, they cannot ignore check engine lights and other warnings.

State law reflects the higher duty of care. Usually, the large truck speed limit is lower than the passenger vehicle speed limit. If a trucker violates a safety law, like the speed limit law, and causes injury, the trucker could be responsible for damages as a matter of law. There’s no need to prove a lack of care in these cases.

Third Party Liability

Most truck wrecks cause catastrophic injuries. The average injury-related medical bill in these cases usually exceeds $100,000. This figure doesn’t include lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages. Most individuals don’t have enough insurance to make good on all these losses.

That’s why the respondeat superior doctrine is so important in truck crash claims. Shipping, transportation, and other companies are financially responsible for car crash damages if:

  • Employee: Most truckers are non-employees for tax and most other purposes. All truckers are employees for negligence purposes. Their employers control them, in terms of things like cargo and delivery schedule.
  • Scope of Employment: Previously, state courts narrowly defined this respondeat superior prong. Now, any act that benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. That could include driving an empty rig to a warehouse or garage.

The respondeat superior rule gives victims access to another source of compensation, but it also makes these claims much more complex for a Columbia personal injury lawyer. Generally, the employer is an out-of-state or offshore conglomerate.

Reach Out to a Thorough Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.


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