The trucker shortage in the United States has become a cause for concern in recent years, with far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the logistics and transportation industries. One of the most significant and immediate effects of this shortage is its impact on safety.
According to the American Trucking Association, there was a shortage of 78,000 truckers in 2022 – and that number just keeps getting bigger. It’s expected to reach 1.2 million by 2031 unless more drivers are recruited. In the meantime, however, the entire industry is scrambling – and that has had a domino effect on roadway safety as a whole.
There’s a lot of pressure on the truckers who remain
With fewer truck drivers available to meet the growing demand for goods transportation, existing drivers are often required to work longer hours and cover more miles. This increased pressure can lead to driver fatigue and stress, which are known contributors to accidents on the road.
Some companies and drivers may take risks to meet the demand
To cope with the shortage and meet tight delivery schedules, trucking companies may resort to pushing their drivers to their limits. This can result in speeding, reckless driving, and a disregard for safety precautions.
Many of the truckers on the road now have less experience
As trucking companies struggle to fill positions, some may hire less experienced drivers or provide inadequate training. Inexperienced drivers are more prone to accidents and may not have the skills necessary to handle challenging driving conditions. There’s even a push to reduce the federal age limit that prohibits truckers under 21 years of age from interstate travel – which may only aggravate the dangers.
Other truckers are hanging on long past retirement age
Conversely, the industry is also relying on drivers over 65 years of age to fill 10% of their workforce, and that may also be dangerous. Drivers well into their 70s and 80s are still on the road, despite age-related health issues that make it harder for them to see at night, slow their reaction times and more.
There’s no question that the roads are getting more hazardous than before due to the trucking industry’s woes – so people do need to be careful when they’re sharing the road with a big rig. When an accident does happen, it’s important to find out more about what it will take to get fair compensation for your losses. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.