The Dallas Morning News reports that it determined that a quarter of big-rig truck drivers faulted in fatal crashes in Texas from 2000 through 2005 had rap sheets. Their research found that of 953 fatal truck accidents where the driver was determined to be a fault, 25% had been convicted of a criminal offense or received deferred adjudication before the fatal wreck. Moreover, 14% had committed drug or alcohol offenses prior to the fatal truck accident. Ten percent were felons.
I am not sure what to make of this information. I believe that people who are imprisoned after committing crimes deserve a second chance, as do former drug addicts. There has to be a chance at redemption. (Parenthetically, I really cannot figure out why felons cannot vote other than just pure spite. It is not like they are going to create a voting block. But I digress….)
Then again, I am not suggesting ex-felons should not be excluded from holding positions that require, for example, knowledge of national security secrets. In the trucking industry, truck drivers are controlling extraordinarily dangerous weapons. If the data shows that ex-convict truck drivers cause an inordinate amount of truck crashes, we should consider making felony convictions a deal killer for getting a CDL license. I’m not arguing that we have reached that point based on one retrospective study by a newspaper. But I think as a society, it is something lawyers and policymakers should be looking at in the future.