Trucker Shortage Problem in the United StatesApril 18, 2019
In recent years, there has been a steady decline in commercial truck drivers in this country. Industry experts point to several factors, including high turnover rates, an aging workforce, and safety concerns. Truck companies are trying to entice truck drivers with higher wages and signing bonuses. Further, new legislation would allow 18-year-olds to drive a commercial truck, as current federal law states that drivers cannot drive across state lines until they are 21-years-old. In addition to the safety impact, the shortage is also resulting in delayed deliveries and higher prices. Truck companies, legislators, and safety officials are hoping to address these issues and come up with safe and effective solutions to the problem.
Safety Implications of the Trucker Shortage
The trucking industry has always been known for its tight deadlines and long hours. The driver shortage has put increased pressure on drivers to work longer shifts to make up for the shortage of drivers. Drivers are often on the road for months at a time, with little to no time off. As a result, too many truck drivers are operating a massive vehicle on little sleep, which can be extremely dangerous. If a truck driver has not slept for 18 consecutive hours, the effect on the body is similar to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. Drowsy driving can lead to devastating truck accidents.
Because of the high demand for truck drivers, truck companies are more likely to hire less qualified drivers. However, by law, truck companies must follow specific guidelines when hiring drivers. For example, they must have a valid commercial driver’s license and proven driving experience. They must also meet the age requirement and be in good health. If they were previously convicted for driving under the influence, the individual will not be hired. These laws are in place to protect the drivers, as well as the general public.
Potential New Legislation and Solutions
The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy, or DRIVE-Safe Act, would change the current law, enabling 18-year-olds to cross state lines after completing a 400-hour training program. According to a Senator from Indiana, the apprentice program will open career opportunities for young people who are looking for a job that offers comprehensive training, greater career options, and access to higher paying jobs. This could help fill the gap left by retired truck drivers or those who left for other opportunities.
Safety groups opposed the legislation, saying that the training requirements are insufficient, and that they fail to address the high turnover rates, long shifts, and other factors that contribute to drowsy driving. They strongly believe that Congress should oppose the legislation, and that failing to do so would endanger drivers on the road.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are urged to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will take every step necessary to determine who is responsible for the accident. Our experienced legal team understands how devastating truck accidents can be, and we will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.