Will the Truck Driver Shortage Make Roads More Dangerous?
The trucker shortage, which has been increasing over the past several years, has begun to reach critical numbers. The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently announced that there would be a shortage of an estimated 175,000 truck drivers by the year 2026. Truck transportation is the backbone of our country’s economy, and a shortage of willing drivers could impact the prices of goods, as well as the cost of shipping packages. Even scarier, however, is that fewer truckers mean that the ones trucking companies do manage to employ may become a danger to everyone on roadways.
Why A Shortage Could Spell Danger
Trucking companies, like most businesses, operate to make a profit. Profits begin to dip when you don’t have enough employees to meet demands – and demands are never higher than during an event like the COVID-19 Pandemic. That means that trucking companies may begin to push their current drivers to move faster, drive longer, and cut corners when possible.
Overload: Drivers may be encouraged to overload their trucks in order to transport more goods and make more money. Overloaded trucks pose an incredible danger to other drivers on the road, as too much weight increases the chance that the truck will lose control and cause an accident.
Speeding: Deadlines could also be shortened, pushing drivers to skip rest periods and speed in order to deliver goods on time. Speed can be difficult to control properly in such large, heavy vehicles. That’s why most trucks move slower than passenger vehicles, as going too fast can make it difficult to stop in time.
Skipping rest periods: Driving while fatigued – which truck drivers will be if they are forced to skip their normal rest periods – can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Drivers can become easily distracted, have a hard time focusing on the road, or even nod off while behind the wheel. In addition, federal regulations on hours of service have been lifted to meet the demands of the medical industry, as reported by Business Insider, which could lead to further accidents in 2020. Arizona state regulations are currently still in place, but that could change with additional developments
Lowered hiring standards: On top of all this, trucking companies may also lower their hiring standards in order to take on as many drivers as possible. But being a truck driver is a huge responsibility. These drivers operate massive vehicles day in, day out, and must be focused, safe, and responsible while on the road. If hiring standards become lax in an attempt to meet demands, then there is a danger that people with past DUI’s or other traffic violations will be allowed to take the wheel.
Stay Safe on The Roads
With all of this in mind, it may feel impossible to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while on the road. If you are driving near a truck, always give it as much space as you can. Never drive directly behind or in front, as the driver may not be able to see cars that are too close. Also watch for signs that the driver may be fatigued, such as constant swerving, speeding up too much, or sudden stops for no reason.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a trucking accident that was not your fault, contact The Husband and Wife Law Team today. While the shortage is certainly making things more difficult for trucking companies and their drivers, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to get away with negligence. Call us at (480) 588-8508 and let’s discuss your case.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer