Coffee Break

How the Trucker Shortage Is Making Our Roads More Dangerous

Early in his journalism career, Kerry L. Tucker had a revelation: there were not enough experts reporting on law issues. Legal matters are part of daily life. Yet, there seems to be a general aversion towards them. One of the main reasons for this is that the convoluted legal language is difficult for many people to follow. Therefore, he decided to change how the law is perceived by the public. Throughout his career, he met with many people who shared their personal stories with him. Some of these hit him harder. One of the cases that stayed with him and influenced his future career development was a car accident case involving a child. From then on, he decided to zero in on car accident lawsuits.

How the Trucker Shortage Is Making Our Roads More Dangerous

A 2019 report from the American Trucking Association paints a bleak picture of the trucking shortage currently affecting America. The report, titled the Truck Driving Shortage Analysis, counted the national deficit for truck drivers at 50,000 drivers in 2017. A year later, the nation was short more than 60,000 truckers.

A second report projects a doubling of driver shortages over the decade. Trucking companies and other organizations are scrambling to recruit young people and more women to replace the large numbers of older drivers deciding to retire.

Causes for Commercial Driver Shortages

No one cause can completely explain the current truck driver shortage. But the advanced age of many truck drivers plays a huge role. The industry is finding it difficult to replace older drivers as fast as it is losing them.

Some experts question the appeal this job has to the newer generations of potential truck drivers. One downside is that truck drivers have to spend extended time away from family and friends to complete their job duties. Another downside is the pay, which is decent but has been stagnant for some years now.

Regulatory issues also lead to fewer truck drivers on the road. One set of regulations, in particular, limit the number of hours a driver can work before resting.

Problems Caused by Truck Driver Shortages

The shortage of commercial drivers in the United States often puts trucking companies in difficult positions. Some of these companies will turn to unscrupulous practices when pressured and encourage drivers to work more hours than the legal limit.

Many companies also have no other choice than to use drivers who do not have the experience needed to meet the work demands. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make a mistake while operating a commercial truck. There are times when these mistakes can become the cause of serious accidents.

The lack of drivers on the road also affects the maintenance performed on the trucks in use. Trucks in demand often stay on the road longer. Continued use may make it difficult to perform all maintenance work needed for a commercial truck. This represents a serious problem since a poorly maintained truck may increase accident risks.

More Accidents

The truck driver shortage in America causes some companies to recruit drivers with severe deficiencies on their records. Multiple convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or at-fault accidents often disqualify a driver from service. But some trucking companies are so desperate that they risk exposing the public to the dangers involved with these drivers operating a commercial vehicle.

Decreasing Accident Risk

A 2019 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics expressed optimism that the solution to truck driver shortage is within the industry’s grasp. The bureau suggests that pay increases are necessary to attract new drivers.

Trucking companies should refrain from lowering hiring standards as part of their efforts to manage the driver shortage. Employers should also invest in the resources necessary to provide their drivers with advanced safety training.

Companies that take a proactive approach to driver fatigue promote the safety of their drivers. This approach will also benefit the motorists sharing the road with those drivers. Trucking companies should also encourage drivers to maintain their physical and mental health.

A final suggestion to trucking companies is to provide a healthy and engaging workplace for drivers. Satisfied drivers will stay on the job longer. Lower turnover rates equal safer roads.

Key Takeaways

Many factors have combined to create a severe truck driver shortage in America. The situation is fixable, but the driver shortage may increase in the coming years. Truck drivers and the companies that employ them will need to take measures to mitigate the safety risks caused by this driver shortage.

Meanwhile, America’s roads are less safe as trucking companies continue to lower hiring standards instead of fixing the issues that keep younger truckers from joining the industry. If you or a loved one is the victim of a trucking accident caused by a reckless driver, our team of Las Vegas truck accident lawyers is here to help. Check out the link for a free case evaluation today!