Is the Truck Driver Shortage Increasing the Risk of Truck Accidents?
While there are more truck drivers on the road than ever before, the demand for truckers is increasing faster than the workforce. The American Trucking Association reports that the industry is currently about 80,000 truck drivers short, and this number might double by 2030.
Some reasons for the shortage include lower salaries and drivers becoming tired of a solitary life on the road. How the industry plans to resolve the shortage is yet to be seen, though in the meantime, fewer drivers might increase the risk of truck accidents.
If you suffered injuries in a truck crash, discuss your legal rights and options with a Georgia truck accident attorney.
How the Shortage Contributes to Crashes
When trucking companies are desperate for drivers, they might expect current drivers to work longer hours. Almost half of the trucking workforce works more than 40 hours a week, which can lead to fatigue and burnout. When a truck driver is fatigued, they might lose focus on driving or even fall asleep at the wheel.
Drowsy driving is a major contributor to truck crashes, despite federal hours of service regulations aiming to avoid this risk. The driver shortage means current drivers might be on the road longer, leading to mistakes and collisions.
Further, companies are trying to build up their truck driving workforce by increasing salaries and providing other incentives. However, in their rush to hire, many companies are putting very young and inexperienced drivers on the road. Other companies are failing to properly supervise and are retaining unqualified truck drivers. When an unqualified driver gets behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound fully loaded semi-truck, disaster can strike and cause serious harm to others.
When companies cut corners regarding trucking safety - by either asking drivers to work long hours or hiring and retaining inexperienced or unqualified drivers - they increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can have devastating consequences due to their size and weight. Common causes include:
- Driver fatigue: Long hours on the road can lead to driver exhaustion, impaired reaction times and decision-making.
- Distracted driving: Distractions like phone use, eating, or adjusting controls divert attention from the road.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a truck's ability to stop in time, especially when carrying heavy loads.
- Impaired driving: Alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can greatly impair a truck driver's judgment and coordination.
- Improper loading: Incorrectly loaded cargo can shift during transit, affecting the truck's balance and stability.
- Inexperienced drivers: Novice truckers may lack the skills to navigate complex traffic situations.
- Aggressive driving: Tailgating, abrupt lane changes, and road rage increase accident risks.
- Failure to yield right of way: Ignoring traffic rules can lead to collisions, especially at intersections.
- Driver distress or health issues: Medical emergencies or personal crises can impair a driver's ability to operate safely.
An Experienced Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
When someone else causes a truck crash and you suffer serious injuries, never wait to seek help from the experienced legal team of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland. We serve clients throughout Georgia, so please contact us today for a free consultation.