How a Shortage of Truck Drivers Is Leading to an Increase in Trucking Accidents
A Shortage of Qualified Truck Drivers
Business Insider reports that the median age for a truck driver hovers around the early 50s, meaning most truckers in the industry are edging closer to retirement. Most trucking companies are struggling to hire new drivers because Millennials and Gen Zs are simply unwilling to work 70 hours a week for a job that pays on average some $40,000 a year. The American Trucking Association forecasts a shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2020.
Hiring new drivers has become such a dilemma in the industry that the trucking community has begun exploring some unorthodox recruiting methods to deal with the shortage of truckers. New measures like offering vocational programs to inmates that allow offenders to receive CDL training while serving time have become prominent in some states. It is clear that the trucking industry is looking for any solution they can find to resolve the shortage of truckers in the industry.
Truck Driver Shortages Elevates Risks of Accidents
The shortage of qualified truck drivers in the United States is having many effects on our society. After all, the keyboard I’m typing on, the screen you’re reading this article on, and most of everything we use in our daily lives is brought to us by trucks. Nevertheless, the most significant of those effects have been the elevated risks of trucking accidents.
The shortage of truckers has lead to:
The shortage of experienced drivers is forcing trucking companies to seek out inexperienced drivers to fill the much-needed demand. As the industry suffers from low engagement, some companies are taking a more lenient approach to their hiring process, allowing for under qualified applicants to fill open positions. The lack of experienced drivers can lead to truckers who fail to comply with regulatory standards and mishandle their trucks’ maintenance. All of which is leading to an increase in trucking accidents.
Lousy Delivery Schedules
With few experienced truckers available to tackle the high demand for deliveries, the truckers who are available are forced to take on more demanding delivery schedules. Truck drivers are already forced to adhere to their employer’s unrealistic delivery schedules that prioritize profits over safety. And the added stress the truck driver shortage brings to the industry is driving more and more truckers to violate the hours-of-service laws that are instilled to keep everyone on our roadways safe. ( In order to comply with federal regulations, truckers are not to exceed more than 14 hours of driving without a break. Hours-of-service laws demand that drivers take a minimum of 10 hours to rest between trips to minimize fatigue.)
Overloaded Delivery Trucks
The lack of available and qualified truckers to make the much-needed deliveries is causing more and more delivery drivers to overload their trucks in order to meet their already hurried delivery schedules and deadlines. Because there are fewer drivers to go around, there are fewer trucks to go around. In turn, trucking companies must overload their trucks in order to meet demands, leading to increased dangers on our roadways. Overloaded trucks are vulnerable to equipment failures like tire blowouts. Not to mention, the risks posed by overloaded trucks are exacerbated when inexperienced drivers are at the helm.
Trucking Accidents & Injuries
The shortage of qualified and experienced truck drivers is leading to a greater number of inexperienced hires, lousier delivery schedules, and overloaded delivery trucks. All of which is leading to more and more trucking accidents each and every day. If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, chances are that the shortage of experienced truckers has had some kind of impact.
The shortage of experienced truckers is a nationwide problem but ultimately it is up to the $800 billion trucking industry to lead with their best foot forward and instill measures to keep the public safe. Big corporations are responsible for their fleets and for their drivers and they should be held accountable when things go wrong on their watch. Our law firm has a winning track record and a long history of standing up to big trucking companies. Don’t hesitate to call our office at 877-724-7800 or complete our contact form here for a free and confidential case evaluation.