There’s a massive truck driver shortage in the U.S. right now. In fact, trucking companies are down approximately 60,000 drivers, with estimates projecting this number to increase to more than 160,000 by 2028.
Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t just impact consumers and the trucking industry itself – it also presents a serious hazard to motorists who are on the roads with trucks day in and day out.
For example, with this shortage, trucking companies are putting more pressure on drivers to deliver goods faster, which results in accidents due to speeding and other unsafe driving activities.
Injuries that result from truck accidents are often severe and devastating. Many are life-changing and can have long-term effects. If you are involved in a truck accident, our legal team is here to help. Truck accident lawyerwill fight for your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.
The State of the U.S. Trucking Industry
According to information from the ATA (American Trucking Association), the first sign of a truck driver shortage was seen 15 years ago and continued to get worse year after year. The biggest increase in the driver shortage occurred in 2020, with it growing by more than 10,000 drivers.
A common cause of the truck driver shortage is that older drivers have started to retire, particularly the long-haul truckers who are often on the roads for several weeks at a time. Many truck companies have had issues getting more women and younger drivers to join the workforce.
In the past, for every four drivers that happened to retire, the trucking industry would recruit around three younger drivers. Today, though, companies are only able to recruit a single driver for every four that retire. The new driver that is recruited must undergo training before operating trucks alone, and specialized training is required for operating tank vehicles, driving school buses, and transporting hazardous materials.
Another factor contributing to the massive shortage of truck drivers is the requirement that a driver is 21 before they receive their CDL (commercial driver’s license). This three-year wait for licensure results in many younger individuals opting for other occupations after graduating high school rather than even thinking about trucking as a career.
The Danger of the Truck Driver Shortage for Other Drivers on the Road
Unfortunately, the truck driver shortage is making the roads and interstates a much more dangerous place to be. It also increases the number of fatal truck accidents, and the situation is only predicted to worsen in the coming years.
Some of the reasons the roads are now more dangerous can be found here.
Inexperienced Truck Drivers Behind the Wheel
It’s estimated that about 88% of truck companies have driver applicants who are not fully qualified for the job. While this is true, many fleet managers are hiring inexperienced drivers due to the huge shortage of drivers present. These inexperienced drivers are much more likely to cause serious accidents and injuries.
More Demanding Delivery Schedules
Since there are few drivers to deliver goods, truck companies are pushing existing drivers to take on more work and stay on the road even longer to increase profits. Some companies are even encouraging their drivers to violate the regulations related to hours of service, which require set rest periods. This increased pressure is causing many drivers to speed, drive while tired, and even avoid important maintenance inspections. All this is resulting in even more accidents on the roads across the country.
Some trucking companies are trying to compensate for the shortage by overloading trucks with excessive cargo. When trucks are overloaded, they are harder to maneuver and require more time to stop, which can cause problems. Trucks that are overweight are also more likely to experience serious equipment failures and even tire blowouts.
Ignoring Warning Signs
As trucking companies continue to work through the shortage and hire inexperienced drivers, they may begin to overlook certain red flags on an applicant’s driving record, such as FMCSA violations, intoxication, and reckless driving.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Trucking Accident
If you are involved in a trucking accident, it is good to contact our legal team right away. We can begin gathering evidence that will be needed to prove the liability of the truck driver or trucking company and work to help you recover compensation.
There are more than a few factors that are increasing the likelihood of truck accidents. Because of this, you have to remain vigilant while on the roads and if the unthinkable happens, get in touch with our legal team right away. We will work to hold the responsible party liable and ensure you have the funds needed to recover from the injuries you suffer fully.