In the United States today, there are far more truck drivers retiring than there are new drivers entering the profession. This is exacerbating a problem that already exists: there are too many trucking jobs and not enough truckers. This issue has been brewing for years, although the recession masked some of the risks because truck volume plummeted as consumers bought less. Now that the economy is recovering, CNBC reports the trucker shortage is quickly becoming a major problem again.
A personal injury lawyer knows that the commercial driver shortage creates safety risks on the road. When there are not enough truckers, drivers may be pressured drive longer routes or to drive more than they should, despite rules passed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that require drivers to limit the amount of hours they drive per day and per week. When there are not enough qualified and trained truckers to do the job, trucking companies may also start relaxing hiring standards. This could lead to more inexperienced truckers on the road who are not able to do an effective job of ensuring these tractor-trailers don't prove a menace to other motorists.
Challenges of Trucker Shortages
Currently, there are approximately 30,000 to 35,000 unfilled truck-driving jobs within the trucking industry.The president of one regional trucking company has expressed concern: "As the economy continues to recover, now we're feeling it [the shortage of qualified drivers] again but worse than ever."Business Insider reports that as many as 90 percent of carriers have said that they are not able to find enough drivers.
The turnover rates of drivers at large trucking companies who were leaving the industry averaged 130 percent in 2005. In 2009, the annualized turnover rate was still high at 92 percent. Trucking companies are trying desperately to curtail the shortfall. They are turning to recruiters and working with driving schools. Many students are being hired before they have even graduated with their commercial license.
Despite the trucking company's best efforts, however, fewer people seem to want to take long-haul trucking jobs and younger drivers in general prefer regional jobs so they can have a family life and a better work-life balance.
The trucker shortage is thus likely to become much worse. As Business Insider reports, there may be a shortage of as many as 239,000 truck drivers by 2022.The industry needs an average of 100,000 new drivers each year for the next 10 years in order to keep pace with demand for new drivers.
There are some basic minimum standards that truckers must meet to be eligible to drive trucks, including having a commercial driver's license. Unfortunately, if there are such significant shortages, trucking companies may start to accept drivers with only the minimum qualifications. As experienced truckers leave the field and are replaced by a new crop of young and inexperienced drivers, it won't be a good thing for road safety.
Victims of Birmingham, AL truck accidents should consult with a personal injury lawyer at Shuttlesworth Lasseter, LLC. Call 866-583-1885 today.