Since 2005, the United States has grappled with a truck driver shortage, according to the American Trucking Association. The number of available trucking jobs was well over 60,000 in 2018, and the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted to have significantly increased that number.
These driver shortages, with an increase in demand for shipping, could result in catastrophic consequences for those who share the road with overworked truck drivers.
If you were injured in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. Call our truck accident lawyers in Fort Worth today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim and learn more about your legal options.
How Trucker Shortages Affect the Industry
With fewer drivers on the road due to a lack of interest in the commercial trucking business, the industry is experiencing serious issues, and steps being taken by these companies to work them out may be leading to more dangerous conditions for others on the road.
Drivers Still Have Tight Delivery Schedules Despite Shortages
With a rise in demand for goods to be shipped and delivered, the shortage of truck drivers is especially noticeable. This means that drivers who are working are faced with a greater number of loads, but mostly the same deadlines.
To meet delivery needs, companies may push drivers to work past the allotted time windows established under federal regulations. Exhausted truck drivers may be prone to making more mistakes that could be hazardous, or deadly, to other drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
Negligent Hiring and Employee Retention May Be More Common
A shortage of people willing to take on the numerous open truck driving jobs often leads to companies hiring unqualified drivers out of desperation to meet their consumers’ needs and turn a profit. This means failing to do things like:
- Run a proper background check
- Thoroughly review driving records
- Verify specializations or certifications
Companies may also be more willing to overlook records of drivers who may be a liability just to get them on the road and working. Drivers who continuously cause accidents may be kept employed out of fear that an empty position may not be filled.
Self-Driving Trucks Becoming More Common
In efforts to combat these trucker shortages, some companies have taken to the use of self-driving trucks. In 2021, Walmart began using fully driverless trucks to ramp up its grocery deliveries.
However, the public’s confidence in the safety of self-driving trucks remains low.
According to a public opinion poll, only 45 percent of individuals said they believe roadways would be safer if all vehicles were fully autonomous, which is down from 63 percent who said the same in 2016. Another 67 percent of respondents said they believe self-driving vehicles should be held to a higher standard of safety than traditional cars, and 50 percent of people said they would not feel safe driving in an area where self-driving vehicles were being tested.
Concerns Over Updates to Federal Commercial Driver License Requirements
A new federal rule for entry-level Commercial Driver License (CDL) training is set to make obtaining a CDL more difficult. While this may place further strains on the shortage of credentialed drivers, the rules were changed in an effort to emphasize the importance of qualified drivers taking to the road.
Critics of the new rules have concerns over the type of training being conducted and where the potential drivers are being taught. Companies with smaller fleets that only travel short distances argue that a national training standard would ignore real-world scenarios on niche roadways. This could increase the likelihood of accidents if the newer drivers are not trained in the proper conditions of where they will be working.
Additional concerns are that these new regulations are resulting in a rush of companies pushing drivers to get CDL classifications before the new rules take effect in 2022. This push to quickly get licensed drivers on the road grandfathered into the old rules may result in less training time, which can lead to more driver errors in the future.
Trucking Company Liability
Proving fault for truck accidents and holding the companies liable for your damages has become more complicated in Texas after the passing of a new law in 2021.
The standards for providing evidence and building a case against liable commercial trucking companies now differs greatly from most other states.
However, you still have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. Due to the complexities of these new rules, it would be in your best interest to speak to a licensed attorney.
Call an Experienced Attorney
Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience helping injury victims and have helped them recover millions in compensation. We are prepared to help you file a claim to pursue the compensation you need.
The consultation to discuss your claim is free and there are no upfront fees. We only get paid if you do.
Call (817) 920-9000 to learn more.