Truck drivers are an essential part of the American economy. Large truck drivers transport necessary goods across Texas and throughout the United States. According to the American Trucking Association, an increased shortage of truck drivers may lead to distribution issues and an increase in accidents.
Drowsy, distracted and intoxicated truck drivers cause a number of accidents every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s FARs report, there were 5,005 truck accident deaths in 2019, which increased from 4,909 large truck accident fatalities in 2018, and 4,805 deaths in 2017.
Although there was a shortage of truck drivers prior to the pandemic, the number of truckers needed has grown by at least 30%, from 61,500 drivers needed in 2019 to over 80,000 drivers needed last year. Not only is the generation of truck drivers aging and retiring, but there also are simply not enough qualified drivers to take their place. Furthermore, the labor shortage, affecting many industries in the nation, also plays a role in the deficit. Potential workers do not want to spend the time away from their families and can find jobs working closer to home for competitive wages.
Increase in accidents
With fewer truckers delivering goods, the pressure is on for current truck drivers to make tight deadlines and transport as many loads as possible. Hours of Service regulations set by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration limit the time truckers can spend on the road before taking rest and sleep breaks. Yet many drivers are spending more time on the road, ignoring the rules in order to make deadlines and more money.
Truck drivers are falling asleep at the wheel and cause devastating accidents as a result. Motorists should remain extremely cautious when driving around large trucks, and be prepared to react if a truck should lose control.