Unlicensed Truck Drivers Raise Concerns 02/17/14
CBS 7 News
February 17, 2014
PERMIAN BASIN—After receiving a tip from a viewer, CBS 7 has learned that there are a number of truck drivers on our roads who don't have the proper Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) needed to operate tractor-trailer type vehicles for commercial use.
Local DPS Troopers and truck drivers say it happens often enough to raise concerns.
Several truck drivers claim they've either seen or know of someone whose been allowed to drive a big rig without having their CDL.
Augustine Peters has been driving big rigs for over 20 years, and says he's come across several drivers who've openly admitted they didn't have the proper licensing.
"Us professional drivers go through a bunch of education on the job, and it’s probably not right for people just to jump on trucks just because they want to make a little extra money—I don’t think that’s right,” Peters said.
Just last month a DPS Trooper pulled over a big rig in Garden City who did not have the proper licensing.
Trooper Elena Viramontes says even though these types of cases don't happen on a daily basis, it's still an issue they deal with that presents a hazard for other drivers on the road.
"It’s a lot that these people have to do in order to get a CDL license, and a lot of people don’t get it because of the testing, and of the processes you have to go through. It’s extensive what they have to go through," Viramontes said.
One truck driver who asked not to be on camera said he came across three illegal immigrants a few weeks ago, who tried to apply for the trucking company he works for with fake CDL licenses.
He says the men came from Cuba and purchased counterfeit licenses for $20 a piece.
Trooper Viramontes says cases that involve illegal immigrants go straight to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, but says they are constantly monitoring big-rigs day in and day out.
Law enforcement departments throughout the Permian Basin have been citing more pick-up trucks hauling trailers, known as “hotshot” trucks, for not having a commercial drivers license.
Officers say many people don't realize that they need to obtain a CDL when driving or towing anything with a gross weight of over 26,001 pounds.