The American Trucking Associations says it needs about 51,000 more drivers to meet demand from companies like Amazon and Walmart, the Washington Post reported. Companies were offering bonuses and raises, but many said the difficult lifestyle was the reason more people did not want the job, according to the article. One man said he had been divorced twice because of trucking.
The New York Times reported that the Department of Transportation had sidelined many safety regulations, including a speed-limit measure that had been the result of a decade of lobbying. The Times also reported that the White House was backing a pilot program that represented “a broader willingness to allow drivers under 21 to make interstate deliveries,” which federal law otherwise prohibits.
How Bad Is the Truck Driver Shortage?
Seaport Global Securities LLC analyst Kevin Sterling told TheStreet that the current truck driver shortage could actually be “upwards of 100,000 or more.” Sky Harbor’s Director of Research Michael Salice wrote in a research note that “industry experts fear the current shortage (60,000 drivers) may nearly triple by the year 2026, absent any meaningful changes.”
The Times noted that as the global economy improved, the demand for trucks to move goods outpaced the supply of available drivers. The Times also reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that the median wage for truck drivers was about $42,480 annually.
Reasons for the Truck Driver Shortage
A number of issues that can make driving a commercial truck a challenging profession. Life on the road usually means that drivers do not get to spend much time with family. Drivers also report that they do not feel that they get proper respect from other drivers or the companies they work for.
Many truckers also deal with health issues because of unhealthy eating habits and no time for physical fitness or personal hygiene.
Finally, money ultimately becomes an issue for many people who don’t feel the income covers the personal costs of the job.
Effects of the Truck Driver Shortage on Traffic Safety
With fewer available drivers, many trucking companies must rely on the same small pool of employees. In some cases, drivers may be asked or required to work more hours than they are allowed by federal law. Hours of service violations have long been an issue in the trucking industry, but they are going to be even more common as long as there is a shortage of drivers.
When truckers put in too many hours, they are much more susceptible to fatigue, which can lead to inattention behind the wheel, delayed reaction times, and drowsy driving, all of which could lead to catastrophic accidents.
The shortage of drivers may also lead trucking companies to hire truckers with spotty driving records or a lack of proper training.
Contact Us for Legal Help After a Truck Crash-
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a commercial truck accident, do not wait to get legal help. You need to work with an experienced attorney for help seeking as much compensation as possible.