WV Trucking Accident Defense: Why Compliant Hiring Is Critical

WV Trucking Accident Defense: Why Compliant Hiring Is Critical

Feb 21, 2024 | Trucking Accident Defense


A man sits in a tractor-trailer reading paperwork, representing the role of complaint hiring in WV trucking accident defense.

A shortage of truck drivers is impacting the operations of trucking companies across the United States. Despite this challenge, these businesses must be committed to maintaining hiring practices and procedures that are compliant with federal and state regulations. In this blog, WV trucking accident defense attorney Andrew M. Brison discusses the applicable regulations and why compliance is critical to mitigate liability for WV trucking accidents.   

Your Hiring Process and WV Trucking Accident Defense

Nuclear verdicts have been on the rise in the trucking industry, making these cases appealing to plaintiff’s attorneys. When a trucking accident occurs, the possibility of a lawsuit is high. In building their case, the plaintiff’s attorney or attorneys will likely review—among other evidence—the procedures that were followed when the driver of the truck involved in an accident was hired. If the hiring process was not compliant with state and federal regulations, the damage to the defense can be significant.

An experienced WV commercial truck accident defense lawyer can evaluate your hiring policies and procedures to ensure compliance and assist in your defense if a claim is filed against you.

Federal Regulations on Hiring of Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), specifically 49 CFR 391, outline the requirements motor vehicle carriers must meet when hiring commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. These rules also apply to owners-operators who drive their own commercial vehicles.

Under these regulations, drivers in interstate commerce must have the following qualifications before they are permitted or required by a company to drive a CMV:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be fluent enough in English to have general conversations, respond to official questions, read road signs and signals, and create legible reports
  • Be qualified through experience or training to drive a CMV safely
  • Meet the required physical qualifications and pass drug screenings, as certified by a provider on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
  • Have one CMV driver’s license from only one state or jurisdiction
  • Have passed a driver’s road test or an equivalent
  • Have the training or experience to determine proper versus improper loading of cargo and familiarity with methods of securing loads

Trucking companies also must perform investigations and maintain records for each truck driver they hire. These are referred to as driver qualification (DQ) files, and they must contain specific information under federal regulations. In addition to a completed employment application that contains particular details, carriers must include the records that result from various inquiries into the driver’s employment, safety and accident history in these records.

Compliant Hiring of WV Truck Drivers under State Regulations

WV follows the FMCSRs in its regulation of commercial vehicle carriers and drivers. Unless exempt under the rules and regulations of the WV Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), all drivers of a CMV must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with the appropriate classifications and endorsements.

Applicants for a WV CDL must be at least 18 years old with a minimum of two years of general driving experience. CMV drivers must be 21 to participate in interstate commercial driving. Most first-time applicants will need to complete entry-level driver training (ELDT), and a CDL instruction permit must be held for 14 days before a driver can take the necessary skills test for a CDL.

State regulations regarding background checks, medical examinations and other qualifications are generally aligned with the FMCSRs, but trucking companies should ensure that they are meeting all requirements of both state and federal regulations before permitting a driver to operate a CMV under their authority.

Contact Attorney M. Andrew Brison for Your WV Trucking Accident Defense

The requirements for vetting and hiring truck drivers under state and federal rules and regulations are extensive and complex. Trucking companies and other commercial motor carriers must ensure they are abiding by all rules before placing a driver behind the wheel. Attorney M. Andrew Brison, at the Law Office of M. Andrew Brison, PLLC in Charleston, is experienced in WV trucking accident defense. He can investigate and gather evidence, provide knowledgeable legal counsel and aggressively represent your interests in court and other legal proceedings. Contact Mr. Brison to schedule a consultation by calling 304-397-8225 or completing this online contact form.