The trucking industry is fighting a difficult battle: a trucker shortage. With the U.S. economy doing well, it should come as no surprise that goods need to be moved across states and across the country, particularly since a majority of products are moved by truck. This requires drivers who are properly trained and experienced in taking big rigs on long hauls. Consequently, there are not enough of these drivers to keep up with demand.
The American Trucking Association reported the industry has to hire close to 900,000 drivers to meet the demand. This naturally leads to an important question: will the trucker shortage cause more accidents?
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, your next step should be to call an experienced attorney. The Krist Law Firm, P.C. is here to listen to your story and advise you on your legal rights and options. Depending on the situation, you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Call us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation.
Fewer Truckers Leads to Current Drivers Being Overworked
The trucking industry often faces a supply-demand problem. When the economy is not doing well, demand for trucking decreases. There are also more willing applicants. Trucking is a steady and decent paying job in a tough economy, even if it is not a person’s ideal position. However, when the economy is doing well, there is a greater demand for trucking in combination with fewer applicants.
Thus, currently employed truckers must somehow meet the demand. Truckers working in a booming economy may have to work more days per week. They may also have to take on longer routes. Both factors mean truckers are worker the maximum hours they are allowed to under federal hours of service regulations.
Working to the limit can lead to fatigue, distraction, and rushing to get to the destination. Trying to stay awake for longer periods of time could lead truckers to turn to illegal stimulants or over-the-counter products that impair their abilities and judgment. The stress of the situation could influence truckers to drink while on duty or shortly before their shift, putting them over the legal limit for commercial drivers of .04 percent blood alcohol content.
All of these factors have the potential to increase the likelihood of a trucker causing an accident. Truckers who are drowsy and distracted are more likely to not keep a proper lookout. Those who are rushing to their destinations may speed or make reckless maneuvers, and drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol are less likely to notice and avoid a hazard.
Filling Positions With Inexperienced Drivers Could be Dangerous
The first step to meeting trucker demand is for applicants to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, this is not enough. Like any new driver, they are inexperienced. They have a limited amount of knowledge of what to do behind the wheel, particularly in busy traffic, on bad pavement, and in poor weather. It takes years to build up expertise in particular kinds of commercial trucks. With the trucker shortage, there is the potential for new recruits to be pushed into long and difficult hauls that they may not be ready for.
Additionally, not all commercial trucks are the same. There are many types of mechanical systems and cargo that require additional training and endorsements. Due to the high demand for truckers, a motor carrier may risk putting someone without the proper endorsement on a particular run.
Both of these potential situations could raise the risk of a trucker causing an accident.
Were You Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a car accident with a truck and you believe it was the trucker’s fault, call The Krist Law Firm, P.C. We have decades of experience helping individuals hurt in trucking accidents find out what happened and hold the appropriate party responsible.
To discuss how we can help, schedule a free and confidential consultation today at (281) 283-8500.