Every industry experiences ups and downs over the time business operations are being conducted. One of the struggles the trucking industry has been faced with for some time now is a shortage of drivers. Currently, the driver shortage has reached 296,311, according to Bloomberg, however, the issue didn’t just arise this year. Apparently, it began sometime in 2004 when “the federal rules changed for measuring whether drivers had reached the maximum workday: driving 11 hours in a 14-hour period.”
After regulations changed, the industry began to see a decline in drivers and as the years have gone on, it has only gotten worse. And if nothing is done to resolve the issue, the numbers will only continue to increase. Aside from the driver shortage leaving many concerned with how interstate and intrastate commerce will be affected, others wonder how the truck driver shortage affects the safety of the other drivers who share the roadways with these truckers.
The truth is, the truck driver shortage could potentially affect the safety of other motorists in a number of different ways. Some of these are explained below.
- With fewer drivers available to operate commercial trucks, the more pressure that is placed on those who remain committed to the industry. Just because there is a shortage of drivers doesn’t mean the demand for transporting goods has died down. The fact is, stores, gas stations, etc. still need the products and materials necessary to operate, whether there is a driver available to bring these items to them or not. With that said, trucking companies are now feeling the pressure of having to fulfill these jobs and that pressure dwindles down to the drivers who must get their cargo to the assigned destination in the timeframe they have been given to do so. And as you know, working under pressure can lead to the development of stress and anxiety which can interfere with a driver’s ability to focus on the road.
- New laws are being considered that would allow individuals who are 18-years-of age to participate in interstate commerce. This means they would be permitted to drive across state lines, which is something they currently are restricted from doing.While some believe this would help the truck driver shortage significantly, many worry that an individual of such a young age is not equipped to handle such a demanding job that requires attention, focus, and experience.
- Drivers could be operating over the hours-of-service rules. Although drivers are restricted to operating their trucks for 11 hours at a time, some might be going over this limit just to get the job done. This goes back to our first point regarding the amount of pressure that is being placed on the trucking industry as well as truck drivers. If drivers are being asked to operate beyond the legal time limit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set just to fulfill their duties, it increases the chances of having more fatigued truckers out on the roadway. And as you know, a fatigued driver is just as dangerous as a motorist who is operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The fact is, the truck driver shortage may not only have an effect on the economy, but based on the points stated above, it can also have a direct impact on other motorists. Hundreds of truck collisions are reported each year, some that occur as a result of a driver falling asleep at the wheel. And with more truckers pressed for time to transport their cargo from one destination to the next coupled with drivers who have yet to acquire the experience they need to operate a commercial truck, the likelihood of an accident occurring seems rather high.
I was involved in a collision with a big rig in Baton Rouge, LA? What should I do?
If you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck in Baton Rouge LA and are in need of some legal advice and guidance, you will want to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Baton Rouge, LA truck crash lawyer Michael Hingle is experienced in handling various types of personal injury cases, including those that arise from a semi-truck accident and can help you too. Not only can attorney Michael Hingle address any questions or concerns you might have, but he can also provide you with the legal representation necessary for you to recover the maximum amount of compensation your injuries entitle you to collect.
You can reach Michael Hingle & Associates, LLC at:
8550 United Plaza Blvd., Suite 702
Baton Rouge, LA 70809