Truck drivers are some of the most regulated drivers on the road. Despite these facts, many people fear sharing the road with these larger vehicles. While riding next to trucks is generally safe, it’s the horror stories of accidents involving motor vehicles and trucks that tend to stick with people the most.
Even if you trust that a trucker is properly trained and licensed, that isn’t always the case.
A court recently upheld a ruling that fined a trucker over $8,000 for violating multiple trucking regulations, including operating their truck without the proper endorsements. A Pennsylvania State Trooper pulled the driver over in the fall of 2017 for driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. The trooper insisted the truck driver park his truck at a nearby truck stop because he did not have a valid commercial driver’s license.
Just an hour later, the same trooper spotted the same trucker driving by him but was unable to stop the trucker again. The trooper sent the citations to the truck driver by mail because of this. In addition to not having the proper license, the trucker received citations for not having a required safety log book, federal inspection certificate, and basic safety equipment like a fire extinguisher.
Penalties for accidents caused by unlicensed drivers
Not having the proper licensing to operate a commercial truck is serious in Pennsylvania. An unlicensed truck driver who causes an accident can face second-degree misdemeanor charge. If their victim suffers a serious bodily injury or death, the truck driver could face third-degree felony charges.
However, an unlicensed truck driver who acts in negligence that contributes to an accident that causes an injury or death could face charges of a second or third-degree misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. These are the possible sentences a driver could receive:
- Third-degree felony: Up to seven years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.
- Second-degree misdemeanor: As many as two years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
- Third-degree misdemeanor: Up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
In addition, a court may award you damages in a lawsuit for a driver found liable for your accident. Receiving compensation could help you offset some of the time you may have missed at work, medical bills, and more.
Most truck drivers do their part to ensure the safety of themselves and motor vehicle drivers like you on the road with them, but Pennsylvania has laws in place to protect you from negligence.