How the Shortage of Truck Drivers Can Cause Dangerous Commutes
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jun 12, 2019 in Truck Accidents
Over the years, the trucking industry has seen a downturn in the number of truck driver applicants, and with more experienced drivers retiring, finding new drivers has become very important. Below, find out how the influx of new, less-experienced drivers may affect your safety during your daily commute.
If you were injured in a truck accident, let the experienced legal team at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak evaluate your case during a free consultation. We will review the trucking company’s records and determine if the driver’s lack of experience contributed to your accident and how you may be able to pursue compensation for the damages the accident has caused you.
Reasons for Truck Driver Shortage
The American Trucking Association estimates that 60,000 drivers are currently needed to satisfy demand and that this number will increase to 100,000 in just a few years. The problem is, truck driving is often not an attractive job to younger generations, as it comes with several downsides, including the following:
- Difficult lifestyle – Truck drivers must spend many days away from their families, increasing marital and family conflict.
- Regulatory concerns – Many people who are attracted to the trucking industry do not want to have authority figures dictate what they should do. Truck driving used to allow drivers more autonomy. However, with today’s technology and current federal regulations, truck drivers are constantly monitored and must comply with many federal regulations and may be subject to fines or other penalties if they violate those rules, even if their employer instructed them to.
- Bad pay – Many truck drivers are paid $40,000 to $50,000 a year and do not believe that this is adequate compensation for the demands of the job.
- Health effects – Driving a truck is a sedentary job that can result in serious health issues. Additionally, truck drivers often do not have access to healthy food, which can further exacerbate the problem. This can be a huge risk factor for accidents.
How This Causes Danger on the Road
Because there are not enough available drivers for hire, many companies take shortcuts and hire inexperienced drivers who may pose a risk to others. They may also encourage drivers to break federal rules in order to perform the work of more than one person.
A number of federal regulations exist to protect motorists who share the road with truck drivers. These drivers are entrusted to drive very large and powerful machines that pose a tremendous danger to drivers who are involved in a collision with them. Before a person can operate an 18-wheeler, he or she must pass a test and obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Truck drivers must pass a rigorous series of written and driving tests that comply with strict federal standards. The purpose of these licensing requirements is to prevent fatal and life-threatening truck accidents.
Additionally, there are federal rules that prohibit a truck driver from driving a vehicle if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher or is under the influence of drugs or medication. Truck drivers must also comply with many other federal laws and regulations.
A trucking company has the responsibility to ensure that the truck driver can safely operate the vehicle. If the employer does any of the following, he or she may be liable for negligent hiring:
- Hires a driver who does not have a valid CDL
- Fails to provide proper training to an inexperienced truck driver
- Fails to require drug testing prior to hiring the truck driver
- Hires a driver with a bad record of impairment that has not been addressed or has many driving violations
- Hires a driver past retirement age whose driving is not safe
- Fails to complete a background check on a driver
- Fails to report truck accidents and safety violations
Our experienced legal team can conduct a thorough investigation to determine if any of these actions were involved in your accident. We will fight for maximum recovery on your claim.
More Pressure, More Violations
With the added pressure of not having enough drivers, trucking companies are having difficulty delivering their loads on time. This can result in the trucking company encouraging truck drivers to skip mandated breaks, drive for more hours than allowed by federal law, skip necessary maintenance, alter drivers’ logs or commit other safety violations that put other motorists at risk.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Help with Your Claim
When unqualified drivers are given permission to operate a commercial truck due to negligent hiring or the driver shortage, it is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced South Bend truck accident lawyer. The dedicated legal team at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak will help you secure evidence at the scene of the collision, fully investigate your claim and gather information about the trucking company’s hiring practices.
Our lawyers will work diligently to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and other damages you may be entitled.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.