One of the leading causes of the truck driver shortage is that we are ordering more online goods than ever before. The pandemic is partially to blame, but for the last few years companies such as Walmart and Amazon have been significantly increasing driver pay and offering signing bonuses in the hopes of attracting more applicants. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that nearly 75 percent of all freight moved across the country goes on trucks. Trucking companies are currently down about 60,000 drivers, and estimates suggest that the shortage will reach more than 170,000 by 2028.
A truck driver shortage negatively impacts the economy. Stores struggle to keep shelves full, which means consumers can’t buy the products they need and that manufacturers are making less profit. This was abundantly clear with the great toilet paper debacle caused by the pandemic last year. It also means that freight costs rise, which is passed on to consumers by way of higher retail prices.
Beyond an impact on your wallet, the truck driver shortage affects safety on highways. Because trucking companies are short on drivers, they have to rely on the same ones again and again.
Brad says, “While federal law limits how many hours a driver can operate his vehicle, some trucking companies are encouraging their drivers to bend or break the rules in order to complete orders.” The result of this is truckers struggling to stay alert and awake while driving long hours. Companies may also overlook drivers with prior safety violations or hire inexperience drivers because they are desperate to meet delivery schedules.
Trucking companies may try to account for the shortage by filling their trucks with too much cargo. Brad says, “This is especially dangerous because overloaded trucks are much more difficult to maneuver and need greater stopping distances. Overweight trucks are also more prone to equipment failures and tire blowouts.”
One solution being discussed is lowering the legal age to obtain a commercial driving license. Currently drivers must be 21 years old. Lobbyists for the freight industry argue that putting 18-year-olds behind the wheels of 18-wheelers is a way to draw in those just out of high school.
“Operating a commercial vehicle requires a lot of experience, of which an 18-year-old has very little. We need someone more mature in the driver’s seat,” Brad says.
With this driver shortage going on, it is important to stay alert as best you can on the roads, especially when driving around commerical trucking vehicles. If you or a loved one have been in a crash due to the negligence of a truck driver or the trucking company, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Area Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident in Texas, our experienced truck accident lawyers are ready to help right away. Contact us online, or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free consultation.We help personal injury clients throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.