The trucking industry has a severe shortage of available drivers. This problem has worsened over the past decade and is only expected to become a bigger problem unless changes are made. It is estimated that there are between 30,000 and 40,000 less truck drivers on the road now than are realistically needed. Over the next decade, 100,000 new drivers will need to be hired annually to keep up with people retiring and leaving the industry.
Nearly everything you touch everyday was on a truck at some point. Before that, the components and materials that made those things travelled by truck. Our global and national economy simply relies on there being enough trucks and drivers to move goods around as needed. When there aren’t enough drivers, transportation prices go up, as do the prices of nearly all goods.
While economic threats are unpleasant, the biggest threats caused by the shortage of drivers are on the road. American truck drivers are overworked, and because of the economic pressures involved, not even federal laws have been able to stop this.
When truck drivers work too many hours or don’t take long enough breaks, they become fatigued. Tired driving is dangerous because a fatigued truck operator can react as slowly as one who has been drinking. Tiredness also impairs judgment in the same way alcohol does. Fatigued drivers cause truck crashes.
It can be difficult to convince people to take jobs as over-the-road (long-haul) truck drivers because of the lifestyle involved. Truckers are away from their families for days or weeks at a time working in isolated conditions. Some end up having no real home.
Some proposals for alleviating the shortage seem to be as dangerous as fatigued drivers. Industry representatives and lawmakers have suggested lowering the minimum age for interstate truck drivers to 18. This would open up positions to many more potential workers, but teens are notorious for causing more accidents than older drivers. Others suggest that automated, driverless trucks will soon dominate the roads. While they may prove safer than human drivers eventually, driverless vehicles are still problematic and not widely accepted by society.
Until the trucking industry becomes totally safe and accidents are eliminated, Seigel Law will be here representing people who have been hurt in truck wrecks on New Jersey roads. From our office in Ridgewood, we represent clients in Bergen County and the surrounding areas. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 201.444.4000.