How Do Unqualified Drivers Cause Virginia Truck Accidents?

When you get behind the wheel, you expect the other drivers you come across to be fully qualified and licensed to operate their vehicles. One of the reasons the Department of Motor Vehicles was established is to ensure that prospective drivers can pass written and on-the-road tests, proving they know how to drive safely and understand the rules of the road. Unfortunately, not every driver in the Norfolk area meets that required level of competence and training, instead contributing to the growing number of Virginia truck accidents that occur every year.

These reckless drivers are responsible for hundreds of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state every single year. No matter what kind of vehicle they are operating, any unqualified driver you encounter on the road is putting you and your family in danger. 

If you were recently injured in a Norfolk-area truck accident caused by an unlicensed or unqualified tractor-trailer driver, we urge you to act in your own best interest and reach out to one of our Norfolk commercial truck accident lawyers right away. 

What are some of the dangers created by Norfolk truck drivers who lack the proper credentials?

Undertrained or Underaged Drivers

truck accident

After passing the necessary tests, prospective drivers in Virginia can apply for a learner’s permit at 15 years and six months of age. At 16 and three months, they are eligible to apply for a Virginia driver’s license

Laws alone, however, cannot stop people who do not have the proper licenses and permits, or who are underage, from getting behind the wheel. Although they will certainly face harsh penalties if they are caught, the threat of punishment alone is not always enough to deter those who are unlicensed or underage from trying to drive and causing Virginia truck accidents.

Unqualified Truck Drivers

In Virginia, commercial motor vehicle drivers are subjected to rigorous training before they are given their commercial driver’s license. The training involved for a CDL is much more intense than for a standard driver’s license. This is because drivers have to learn how to safely handle the complexity, weight, size, and performance characteristics of a commercial truck.

For instance, truck drivers must learn how to properly work pneumatic brakes and how to determine the distance they need to safely execute a turn and come to a complete stop. In order to operate specialized types of commercial vehicles, like tankers that carry hazardous materials or school buses, truck drivers are also required to earn special endorsements on their licenses via additional training.

When a commercial truck driver lacks the specialized expertise and training necessary to safely operate a specific kind of truck, the odds of them causing serious or fatal Virginia truck accidents are high. 

Trucking companies are responsible for running checks on their drivers and ensuring they have the right CDL and endorsements. Nevertheless, a current national shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers has resulted in some independent operators and trucking companies cutting corners by hiring unqualified drivers.

A truck driver’s CDL can also be suspended for several reasons, such as causing an accident and changes to their health, like hearing loss, that makes them unfit to operate an oversized vehicle. Background checks will reveal this kind of information, but only if they are conducted regularly.  

Disqualification for Driving While Intoxicated

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other substance is a major safety concern in the Norfolk area. Inebriation influences judgment, reaction times, perception, and other factors that heavily impact a person’s ability to drive sensibly and safely. Drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or greater are considered intoxicated under state law. For the driver of a commercial vehicle, however, the legal limit is just 0.04%.  

Drivers charged and convicted of DWI in Virginia risk the suspension or revocation of their CDL and, as a legal matter, a driver without a valid license is unqualified to drive.


Truckers can lose their licenses after a single DWI conviction. The law requires truck companies to randomly test their drivers for alcohol and certain other substances, such as illegal drugs and certain prescription medications. Even though every truck driver knows it is dangerous and unlawful to operate a tractor-trailer while under the influence, these violations do happen and cause otherwise licensed drivers to become unqualified.

Why Unqualified Drivers Matter

Unqualified drivers are far more likely than qualified drivers to cause Virginia truck accidents, severe injuries, and even fatalities on the state’s roadways.

If you are injured due to another driver’s negligence, then Virginia law entitles you to take legal action and pursue compensation for your injuries and damages, such as by filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance provider, bringing a truck accident suit in civil court, or both.

Obtaining Compensation From Unqualified Drivers

If an unqualified driver injures you or a member of your family, then you are most likely eligible to obtain compensation from that driver as well as anyone else responsible for their conduct.

Some forms of compensation you may be entitled to include:

  • Medical costs arising from your injuries, such as ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, diagnostic tests, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, extended hospitalization, medically assistive devices, future medical expenses, and prescription medication.
  • Other costs related to your accident or injuries, like the expense of hiring someone to assist you with daily routines while you heal.
  • Current and projected lost income in the event that an injury causes you to miss work or prevents you from ever being able to physically return.
  • Pain and suffering, which is intended to compensate you for the emotional and physical hardships imposed on you by the unqualified driver  

Speak With a Norfolk Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Today

If you were injured by an unqualified truck driver in the Norfolk area and have questions concerning your legal options concerning Virginia truck accidents, reach out to an experienced Virginia commercial truck accident lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online contact form to schedule a free review of your potential truck accident case.  

Related Content

Who Is Liable in a Virginia Truck Accident When the Truck Driver Was DUI?

Important Records to Obtain After a Truck Accident in Virginia

Federal Government Reports Highest Spike in 2021 Truck Accident Deaths