The truck driver shortage continues to loom over the trucking industry. Shortfalls are estimated to reach 175,000 drivers by 2025. Companies such as Walmart and Amazon are significantly increasing driver pay to nearly $90,000 a year and offering signing bonuses in hopes of tempting more applicants.
One of the biggest reasons why truck drivers are in such high demand is that as a country we’re ordering more online goods than ever. The American Trucking Association estimates that more than 70 percent of all freight moved across the country goes on trucks. But the number of those willing to accept the grueling working conditions, poor dietary options and weeks away from home is slim.
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.
Brad Parker does not agree.
“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,” he says.
So what does the trucker shortage mean for you?
First of all, it negatively impacts the economy. Stores can’t keep shelves full, meaning consumers can’t buy the products they want and that manufacturers are making less profit. It also means that freight costs rise, which is passed on to consumers by way of higher retail prices.
It’s not just your increased expenses you should worry about. 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.
While a truck driver shortage may seem like it doesn't affect you, we hope this information helps show you why it does. We hope this information persuades you to stay more alert on the roads and be more aware of the trucks around you sharing our roadways.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a commercial truck crash, call us at 817-440-3888 or fill out our contact form to discuss your legal options.
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.