Truck accidents are becoming increasingly common today out on the roads. These trucking accidents are often tragic, and many are left wondering what society can do to prevent them from happening. Is it because there are more unqualified commercial drivers on the road?
Per the American Trucking Association (ATA), there is a significant shortage in the industry of qualified drivers. In fact, they estimate that 1.6 billion are employed nationwide. While this number is large, the reality is that it is not enough.
Instead, the trucking industry is experiencing a serious shortage of qualified drivers. Currently, estimates are at 30,000 in shortages nationwide. The number is expected to increase as much as 239,000 by 2022.
Sadly, 90 percent of carriers now report that they cannot find enough drivers that meet the Department of Transportation federal requirements.
Are the New Rules to Blame?
One issue that carriers are currently citing for the shortage are the new rules created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These new rules include the hours of service regulations. While these regulations increase safety and driver working conditions, they also limit how many drivers the carriers can use on the roads without overstepping boundaries.
Drivers are required to take longer breaks in between shifts, which means that carriers must find qualified drivers to fill the employment gaps. More companies are seeking drivers, but they are not having an easy time finding ones that are trained. The costs of hiring these operators along with training them properly have made it even harder on carriers.
Carriers are Not the Victims
While it might be harder to find qualified drivers, the victims in all of this are the people sharing the roadways. When carriers find that they are unable to afford properly trained drivers, they allow inexperienced or inadequate drivers to take the place of qualified drivers on the road. This puts the safety of all of us at risk.
Truck Driver Turnover Rates Increasing Too
Sadly, the shortage is not the only issue. The industry has seen a peak in the turnover rate of drivers. In fact, some figures point as high as 92 percent for turnover rates, compared to the 39 percent it was just five years ago. That means that more unqualified or inexperienced drivers are taking the place of qualified drivers. These new drivers are less qualified and do not have knowledge of the area. And if that isn’t bad enough, employers can get so desperate to fill openings – some are even hiring drivers with little to no experience.
The average age of a driver today is 49 years old, and most of the turnover rate comes from the skilled drivers starting to retire. The shortage is expected to increase with lower numbers of people seeking to become qualified drivers. While these trucking companies are doing what they can, the issue remains that there are simply too many unqualified drivers on the road. And unqualified drivers result in a higher risk for catastrophic accidents and injuries.
A Victim’s Rights in an Accident
Anyone injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle may have a right to compensation, especially when the driver causes the accident due to negligence. Inexperience is not an excuse for causing harm.
Trucking cases and commercial motor vehicle cases are not simply car wrecks. These types of cases require an attorney familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and other laws and industry standards to protect your rights and maximize compensation.
After a serious accident, turn to an attorney in New Orleans ready to fight for you. Shlosman Law Firm is here to help. Schedule your consultation today at 504-826-9427 or request more information online.