CBC 7 News in Texas recently did an in-depth investigation on the growing epidemic.
“In 2010 the Texas Department of Public Safety issued 139 tickets to truck drivers without a CDL. Last year that number went up to 200, and so far this year 300 tickets have been issued troopers say at this rate the number could double by the end of the year,” CBS 7 News reported.
Trooper Shawn Baxter told CBS 7 that the real problem is that most drivers without a valid CDL have not been trained how to properly care for and inspect their trucks.
During their investigation, the news channel found that 130 trucking companies in West Texas were currently hiring truck drivers without CDLs.
Most of the companies hiring those without CDLs are in the fracking and construction industry, and until the penalties for doing such increase, the problem will likely get bigger.
The current penalty for driving without a CDL is a $500 fine, a small price to pay for larger companies.
“They would never learn, these drivers can afford to pay the citations and take the risk,” Ector County Judge Susan Redford told CBS 7 News, “Some companies will even pick up the tab.”
The CDL-less drivers could faces stiffer penalties, such as a Class C misdemeanor and jail time for repeated offenses.
“According to the DPS, companies can be audited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which can lead to fines based on the gross income of the business, but CBS 7 was told that because of limited manpower, it can take up to a year to audit a single citation,” CBS 7 News reported.