Truck Driver Shortage Blamed for Rise in Semi Accidents
Blame the internet or Amazon if you like, but there is a truck driver shortage in the United States. More than ever, folks are having stuff delivered to their door. The demand for truck drivers is high and the supply may be lower than what the current demand requires. Some have speculated that this very reality is contributing to the rise in truck-related accidents. Underqualified drivers are being plucked from training programs to provide support for experienced drivers who are required, by law, to minimize the number of hours they work during the week.
The legislation that requires truck drivers to take rest breaks or otherwise keep the number of hours they drive down is believed to be saving lives. It ensures that truck drivers don’t fall asleep at the wheel and are well rested during long deliveries. However, the same legislation is now causing some to wonder if it isn’t creating another problem—a problem that also puts truck drivers and other motorists at risk.
Why is There a Truck Driver Shortage?
Aside from supply and demand issues that were mentioned above, most trucking companies now hire drivers as independent contractors. The owner-operator model, some have speculated, is reducing interest in the industry. Under this model, the truck driver purchases their truck on a lease-to-own contract from a trucking company. The drivers are responsible for maintenance, gas, and must purchase their own insurance policies. Obviously, this takes an economic toll on the individual drivers who are making far less money than they would driving for a company that hired them as an employee.
Additionally, the average American trucker is male and over the age of 55. The trucking lifestyle may not be conducive to raising a family or otherwise settling down. This can be a major deterrent for the majority of the population as trucking requires that drivers spend a significant amount of time on the road and away from their family.
That brings us to today. There is now a shortfall in the number of young qualified drivers who are interested in performing deliveries for trucking companies.
How is the Truck Driver Shortage Causing Accidents?
Trucking companies are hiring inexperienced drivers to haul major loads on tight schedules. Many companies are now relaxing their hiring requirements in order to accommodate the increasing amount of freight they are required to haul. Filling these positions with under-qualified applicants who lack the training or experience necessary to safely conform federal safety regulations is no doubt a major part of the reason why there are more trucking accidents than ever before.
Additionally, with fewer truckers on the road, truckers are required to work more demanding schedules. While federal regulations limit how much they can drive, hours-of-service violations do happen, and they happen more frequently than you probably think.
Lastly, the trucks that they are driving are overloaded to accommodate the increased market demand. This can result in tire failure, jackknifing, and other problems for both the truck and the trucker.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney Today
The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert file lawsuits against tire companies and trucking companies when they injure other drivers on the road. To find out more, call us today for a free consultation.