How the Trucker Shortage Can Affect Your Safety
Posted in Truck Accidents on November 4, 2019
We often see large commercial trucks on our highways and roads every day, so it may come as a surprise to many that the trucking industry is actually suffering from a record-level shortage of drivers. Currently, the demand for truckers is at an all-time high, but fewer people are willing to apply.
The trucking industry is the backbone of the United States economy as it provides the transportation of goods, but this shortage poses a more serious problem than less delivery. The shortage has the potential to compromise the safety of drivers as a whole.
Rest assured that if you or a loved one has recently suffered from a negligent commercial truck accident, the McAllen truck accident lawyers at De La Garza Law Firm can help you fight for your claim to get you the compensation you deserve.
Why Is There a Decrease in Truckers?
Professionals within the trucking industry believe there is a shortage of about 60,000 to 100,000 drivers, and it is estimated that by 2026 that number may triple. The main issue that we see with this is that the current workforce is aging and heading towards retirement, but experts say this is only part of the reason.
Apart from its retiring segment of workers, the trucking industry also has an abnormally high turnover rate of over 90 percent, but the main culprits to the decrease in drivers are simple: lifestyle and safety concerns.
The lifestyle of a truck driver is one that few volunteer for. They often sign up for very long shifts that leave them on the road for weeks or even months at a time. These long hauls decrease the time they would rather spend in the comfort of their own homes with their families.
Truck driving is also a dangerous vocation. Compared to most other jobs, the fatality rate is much higher for commercial truck drivers due to injuries sustained by overexertion. The job eventually takes a toll on the employee who works longer-than-average hours and sits for the vast majority of the day.
Why Accidents Can Happen with a Trucker Shortage
Due to the shortage of truck drivers, many current truckers are forced to take on very long shifts that consist of a higher-than-average amount of working hours. Having to work these intensely long shifts comes with terrible consequences for both commercial truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers.
The main problem that can arise from working long shifts with little time for rest or sleep is driver fatigue. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being awake for more than 24 hours straight can be equivalent to the effects of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The culmination of all of these circumstances can also lead employers to hire less-than-qualified candidates. A usual requirement for drivers to enter the trucking industry is to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and to have 2 years of experience driving any type of commercial vehicle. The shortage may force trucking companies to hire those who barely meet the minimum requirements.
In addition, truck drivers are not required to have taken any type of accredited course to get their CDL. Accredited schools can be extremely helpful in making sure drivers get the right training for their line of work, but not all trucking companies require the course from their drivers. Inexperienced drivers can sometimes be the main ingredient in an otherwise avoidable accident.
Have You Been Involved in a Trucking Accident?
Companies have the obligation to make sure that their employees are taken care of, trained properly, and effectively maintaining their vehicles. Doing anything less could be considered negligence if it caused you harm in a truck accident.