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Interstate Tractor Trailer Trailer Truck Driver Qualifications

In representing people in Georgia catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases resulting from tractor trailer / "big rig" crashes, at attorney must understand the rules that trucking companies are required to follow in checking out the background and qualifications of the drivers they entrust with 80,000 pound tractor trailers on the highways.

  1. Qualifications of Drivers. 49 C.F.R. § 391.11 requires that a commercial truck driver must be (1) at least 21 years old; (2) able to "read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;" (3) "Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives; (4) physically qualified; and (4) have a valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL).

  2. Disqualification of drivers. 49 C.F.R. § 391.15 provides that a driver is disqualified by (a) loss of suspension of the CDL; (b) driving a commercial vehicle with blood alcohol 0.04% or more, or under influence of drugs, or refusing to take drug or alcohol test; (c) transporting illegal drugs; (d) leaving scene of an accident;(e) a felony involving use of a commercial vehicle; or (f) violation of an out-of-service order.

  3. Physical qualifications. 49 C.F.R. § 391.41 requires that drivers not have various orthopedic impairments, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, or high blood pressure that could interfere with operation of a commercial vehicle; insulin dependent diabetes; or specific cardiovascular or respiratory conditions. Drivers must have binocular vision corrected to at least 20/40, with 70 degree horizontal field of vision, ability to recognize colors of traffic signals, and ability to hear a forced whisper at five feet. Drivers may not use medications without the physician being aware of their duties and advising that the medication would not adversely affect ability to operate a commercial vehicle. 49 C.F.R. § 391.43 through 391.47 outline medical examination requirements. About 37% of the FMCSR book deals with alcohol and drug testing procedures. A physician who issues a DOT medical certificate to a driver has no liability to a person injured due to the truck driver's medical condition.

Client Reviews
"My family hired Ken after our parents were killed in a trucking accident in GA in 2013. We worked with Ken for 19 months before our case settled. During this time I thought Ken was outstanding. He was accessible to us at all times and maintained consistent communication. He was patient with us and took time to explain the finer points of law. While we avoided going to trial, he prepared diligently and I felt like he was leaving nothing to chance. I am relieved that our case is complete and I will miss working with Ken. He was very thoughtful and caring while helping us to stay relaxed. I would highly recommend him to anyone who requires these types of services." David U., Client, Vermont
"When tragedy struck our family in the form of the wrongful death of our son and caused me physical injuries and changed our lives forever, we dragged our feet about hiring a lawyer. I didn't want to face having to go through the stress. Big mistake. The first thing you do is hire local counsel. I found Mr. Shigley by surfing the web, and we got a listening ear. He was realistic, professional and worked very hard in our behalf. Not only that, he showed a genuine concern for our family, and ran interference for us on a number of issues relative to our case. If I had it to do over again, I would have hired him sooner." Carolyn R., Newnan, GA
"After my parents were killed in a tractor truck accident on December 2013, he fought hard against the insurance companies to help my brother, sister, and I. He was honest and always available to answer any questions I had. Ken went out of his way to meet with my brother and I while on vacation in New England. He was awesome in explaining everything to us in detail and looked out for us with every step of the lawsuit. I would highly recommend him." Joan M., Client, Massachusetts
"I first met Ken when I watched him try a very difficult case involving catastrophic injuries. He was an incredibly effective advocate and was able to obtain justice for his client. I have since come to know him as one of the state's leading trial lawyers, particularly in trucking cases, which involves complex regulatory and legal issues not involved in other types of cases. I do not hesitate to recommend Ken for any kind of personal injury case." John H., Attorney, Atlanta
"Ken Shigley is an excellent trial lawyer in the area of commercial trucking. He knows the specialized rules for handling truck wreck cases for the victims and their families when tractor-trailers leave a devastating loss, catastrophic injuries and deaths. He is an advocate who understands the impact on his clients and is highly effective in bringing them justice." Myles E., Attorney, Atlanta