Truck Driving with Accidents
What happens if I have an accident while driving a truck?
Car accidents are one of the scariest experiences you can go through, but it’s even worse if you do it in a work vehicle when you drive for a living. If you have recently had a vehicle accident while on the job as a truck driver, you may be wondering how this will affect your career and if you’ll still be able to drive a truck.
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Assessing Fault and Tickets
After the accident happens, the police and insurance companies of the drivers involved will decide who was at fault. In some cases, both drivers are at fault, in which cases a percentage of the blame is assigned to each party.
If you are found to be partially or entirely at fault, you may receive tickets as the result of your accident. It’s important to remember that fines and license points tend to be stricter for CDL holders than for those driving a vehicle for personal use. This can be a fairly lengthy process, particularly if your employer or the other party involved in the accident decide to go to court over the accident.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Many trucking companies have policies in place for when a crash occurs. Regardless of whether or not you are found to be at fault, you will likely have to go through drug and alcohol testing immediately after the accident through a company of your employer’s choosing. If the test shows that you had any unauthorized drugs or alcohol in your system at the time of the accident, immediate termination is possible. Your former employer may even bring charges against you for the damage you caused while under the influence.
If your test comes up clean, then you’ll move on to the next step of the process. What happens then depends on the severity of any tickets received and damage caused by the accident.
Keeping Your Trucking Job
In the event of a minor accident, you may well be able to keep your trucking job. Employers understand that accidents happen, even if you have thousands and thousands of miles under your belt.
Certain offenses require you to give up your commercial driver’s license, in which case you undoubtedly lose your job. These offenses include driving while under the influence, fleeing the scene of an accident, or vehicular manslaughter.
Otherwise, what happens to your job depends on your employer. If you have a long history of safe driving, you may be safe. Being fully transparent and cooperative during the testing and police investigation process may help you with your employer.
Keep in mind that getting tickets does put points on your license. As is the case with a regular driver’s license, you can only have so many points on your license before your license is suspended. If you have a high number of points on your license, your employer may require you to complete a driving class to get points off of your license.
An accident doesn’t have to be the end of your career. Work with your employer and stay honest to demonstrate your integrity during this process.