Truck accidents and the CDL English proficiency requirement under the FMCSA
As a truck accident lawyer, I have handled cases involving people who have been seriously injured in truck wrecks at the hands of commercial drivers who do not speak English. Drivers who do not speak English fluently are in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules. The companies that hire these drivers, who may pose a greater risk of causing a truck accident because they do not speak English or may be confused by English language on a road sign, are in violation of the CDL English proficiency requirement as well.
This safety requirement under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration remains in place, even as we enter a global economy and are seeing new agreements that allow Mexican and Canadian motor carriers on U.S. roads.
Here’s the CDL English proficiency requirement for commercial truck and bus drivers in the U.S. according the FMCSA:
U. S. Dept. of Transportation- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Part 391, Subpart B — Qualification & Disqualification of Drivers
§ 391.11 General qualifications of drivers.(b)(2) Can 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.
English proficiency is an important topic, and I have spoken at legal seminars on this issue, which is often missed by attorneys who litigate commercial truck cases but do not know that companies are required to hire drivers who are proficient in reading and speaking English.