Too Few Truck Drivers Leads to Too Many Deadly Accidents

It seems hard to believe, especially after one of the worst recessions in decades, that there would be a shortage of workers in any industry. But that is exactly the case in the trucking industry. Despite the unemployment rate still hovering around 8 percent, there are roughly 200,000 truck driver jobs available throughout the nation.

In fact, the shortage is such an issue that many trucking companies are offering attractive sign-on bonuses, and are willing to pay for training costs for new drivers. While this is good news for job seekers, the effects of a truck driver shortage are proving to be serious for all motorists.

The volume of loads that need to be delivered have not changed, which means that with fewer drivers, there is more pressure to work longer hours and more days each week to make sure that shipments are delivered on time. And with the increased pressure and increased hours, the chance of making a mistake when behind the wheel increases. Fatigued truck drivers are more likely to cause truck accidents than those who are well rested and under little pressure.

Additionally, many truck drivers are inexperienced; in the first quarter of 2012, turnover for trucking firms averaged 90 percent. New drivers, though well-trained, are more likely to cause a truck accident since handling a big rig is considerably different than a car or regular sized truck.

Accidents involving large 18-wheeler trucks often result in catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death. It is important that the trucking industry continue to follow hours of service limitations put in place by the federal government last year, and emphasize safety over the pressure to deliver on time.

Related resource: Journal, “Trucking companies dealing with shortage of drivers.”