Can a Truck Driver Shortage Hurt Road Safety?

September 15, 2017

Throughout recent history, regulations on truck driving have caused a lot of changes in the trucking industry, which has often times meant a truck driver shortage. A truck driver shortage is usually an indication that experienced truck drivers are leaving the industry, and they’re not being replaced at a fast enough rate.

Finding qualified drivers becomes a problem not just for the truck driving industry, but for all other drivers on the roadway. It also causes higher rates for truck driving companies because now they have to spend more time training and procuring new truck drivers.  One report believes that an increase in training hours for entry-level drivers looking to gain a commercial driver’s license would cost as much as $5.6 billion over 10 years.

That means it would make the roads safer – in the long term, but there might be issues early on as companies look to replace experienced drivers that retire.

Truck Driver Shortages Affecting Road Safety

It’s easy to understand how fewer truck drivers and better regulations will affect shipping costs and the price of moving cargo from one part of the country to the other, but how is this same shortage going to affect road safety?

The American Trucking Association reported a shortage of close to 40,000 truck drivers last year, which means there are a lot more loaded up trucks ready to move, but fewer drivers able to drive them.

So now the problem becomes filling the need for more truck drivers by possibly reducing the regulations surrounding the truck driving industry. By lowering the regulations, rather than increasing the laws governing the truck driving industry, there will be more opportunities with lower obstacles in the way.

For instance, by dropping the age limit for Class A vehicle operators from 21 to just 18 years old, they’ll not only open up jobs for those born within that three-year range, but they’ll also increase the chances of someone becoming a career trucker, helping their numbers down the road. That reasoning is quite sound, if you consider that an 18-year-old that’s not going to college isn’t going to wait around to drive trucks for three years – they’ll start in another industry immediately.

However, adding younger, inexperienced people to the truck driver pool could cause serious issues on the road, as they haul tractor trailers that weigh close to 80,000 pounds. Insurance companies will certainly raise their rates, as they’re fearful of more accidents and incidents.

Fears Nachawati is a Fort Worth truck accident law firm with a lot of experience in personal injury claims in Texas. Give them a call at (817) 230-4750, or come down to their Fort Worth offices on Main Street to discuss your case. You can also visit their offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, as well as their Denver and Tampa offices.

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