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What makes a driver unqualified for commercial vehicles?

While it is common to see almost as many commercial vehicles as automobiles on the roadways in West Virginia and elsewhere, the driving privileges of truck drivers are stricter than those of other vehicles. In fact, federal trucking regulations require that drivers of commercial motor vehicles confirm that a driver is qualified to operate a commercial vehicle.

What makes a driver an unqualified driver of commercial vehicles? Section 391.15 of the federal trucking regulations details the offenses that could result in the revocation, suspension, withdrawal or denial of an operator's license.

Such offenses include driving under the influence of alcohol, including driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content 0.04 percent or more, being accused of a DUI under state law or refusing to undergo alcohol testing that is required by any state of jurisdiction, driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, using a commercial vehicle while on duty to transport or possess unlawful controlled substances, leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial vehicle and committing a felony involving the use of a commercial motor vehicle.

A disqualified driver is not permitted to drive a commercial motor vehicle. In addition, a motor carrier cannot require or permit a disqualified driver to drive a commercial motor vehicle. If it is determined that an unqualified driver was permitted to drive, this could be considered a form of negligence. Moreover, if a truck accident occurred and investigators determine that an unqualified truck driver was operating a commercial vehicle, this could assign liability to the driver and the motor carrier.

Following a truck collision, those involved should ensure a thorough investigation is conducted. It is important to determine whether federal trucking regulations have been violated. This could help assign liability, helping injured victims recover losses and damages arising from the accident.

Source:, "§ 391.15: Qualifications of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle (Lcv) Driver Instructors," accessed May 17, 2015

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