Trucker Shortage Adds Danger to the Roads
Here in Georgia, as well as nationwide, trucking companies are struggling to hire enough drivers to haul cargo. The extent of the trucker shortage is unknown, but estimates range from a deficiency of 48,000 to 100,000 drivers. This problem is only expected to grow as global shipping increases, ports expand throughout the country, and older drivers need to be replaced as they retire. According to estimates by the American Trucking Association, this means that nearly 90,000 drivers will need to be added to the workforce each year for the next decade. This shortage doesn’t only affect the trucking industry or our economy, however. Fewer truckers mean those now behind the wheel work longer hours, with less sleep, creating a potential danger for everyone else on the road. While drivers and trucking companies are supposed to follow laws that require truckers to take extended breaks and avoid long hours, these laws are routinely ignored.
Finding drivers can be difficult because the job takes people away from their homes and families for days at a time and often pays less than other opportunities that don’t require this sacrifice. In an attempt to hire more drivers, trucking companies have had to increase pay, often cutting into profits and raising the costs of shipping. In fact, average pay for over-the-road drivers increased 17 percent between 2013 and 2015 as transportation companies faced an increasing demand for truckers. Trucking companies and their lobbyists have tried to convince lawmakers to drop the minimum age for truck drivers from 21 to 18, but they have not yet been successful. Until more truck drivers are hired, however, our highways remain a dangerous place.
Any driver who is tired or fatigued can fall asleep at the wheel. Tired drivers also have slower reaction times, reduced decision-making skills, and even trouble staying focused on the road. When a driver in this condition is behind a tractor-trailer weighing up to 40 tons, the danger is magnified.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a wreck with a fatigued truck driver, consult the experienced Atlanta truck accident attorneys at McMenamy Law LLC.