The Impact of Driver Shortages on Commercial Trucking Safety

The Impact of Driver Shortages on Commercial Trucking Safety

Trucking is one of the most important industries in the United States, keeping communities big and small running smoothly. Trucks are still the only way to transport many important products and raw materials, making them a core part of the national economy. However, a growing national shortage has left many trucking companies without the drivers they need. This has had a negative impact on roadway safety.

Have you been hurt in a truck accident? We’re here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call Bailey Javins & Carter at 678-210-3292 to set up a consultation right away.

Truck Driver Demand is Growing

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will likely be an average of 259,900 new truck-driving jobs per year through 2031. This is due in large part to truck drivers retiring or switching professions. People leaving the industry is a big problem—trucking is an incredibly demanding job.

Many drivers have to do long-haul jobs that keep them away from home for days or weeks at a time, which limits their time with their families. Furthermore, truck driving is mentally and physically exhausting. It requires intense mental focus, but the act of driving encourages fatigue and daydreaming. Along with the fact that many trucking companies have not increased pay to match the demand for drivers, it should come as no surprise that many drivers are looking for greener pastures.

How Trucking Companies Are Responding to This Demand

This has left trucking companies in a bind. They only make money when they complete jobs, and if they have to refuse jobs continuously, they lose contracts and clients permanently. Their entire business model depends on a stable roster of drivers.

As a result, many trucking companies have been caught being a little too lax with their hiring requirements. If they can’t find drivers with an intensive list of requirements, they gradually loosen those requirements until they can get the applicants they need.

This means that trucking companies are releasing untrained and unprepared new drivers onto the road, putting everyone at risk. When truck collisions happen, they cause massive property damage, and serious injuries to passengers and drivers, and can shut down highways for hours on end.

Across the country, truck collisions make up a very small percentage of all vehicle accidents. However, they are overrepresented in traffic fatalities. Flooding the roads with untested, untrained drivers is a surefire way to cause preventable fatalities.

How Current Drivers Are Affected

The driver shortage doesn’t just affect new drivers that are applying for jobs. It also changes how trucking companies are treating their current drivers. Drivers must follow strict hours of service regulations to avoid federal violations. For example, a driver can drive no more than 11 hours after spending at least 10 hours off-duty. Those 11 hours must end no later than 14 hours after starting a shift, even with breaks in between.

Some trucking companies push drivers to take unnecessary risks, violate hours of service regulations, and drive even when they know it is unsafe to do so. One of the main reasons for hours-of-service regulations is to prevent fatigued driving. Fatigued drivers are a massive risk to others on the road and driving more than 11 hours in one stretch definitely increases the likelihood of driver fatigue.

Even though current drivers know hours of service regulations, they may feel pressured to violate these regulations in order to keep their job. Yes—drivers have reported having their jobs threatened for refusing to break the law.

How can personal drivers use this information to protect themselves? It’s important to know that trucking companies are struggling to keep trucks filled, and that means that they may be hiring people they shouldn’t be. Always practice extra caution when driving near big rigs.

Choose Bailey Javins & Carter for Your Truck Accident Case

If you’ve been injured in an Atlanta truck accident, it’s time to talk to a personal injury lawyer who can fight for compensation on your behalf. The team at Bailey Javins & Carter is here to guide you through this entire process. Just call us at 678-210-3292 or get in touch with us online to set up a time to chat.