According to The Washington Post, the American Trucking Association estimates that there is a shortage of more than 50,000 truck drivers across the United States, largely due to increased demand from massive retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Because of this shortage in qualified drivers, many are starting to wonder if the roads will become less safe as companies scramble to hire new drivers to meet the rising demands.
Trucking is one of the most vital industries in America, since nearly every sector of our economy relies on tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks to transport materials and products. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous industries in America, with more than 1,000 fatalities among commercial truck drivers in a single recent year. Of course, many more occupants of smaller vehicles are maimed or killed each year. For example, in 2016, over 3,800 people died in crashes with large trucks or buses, according to the United States Department of Transportation.
While our economy depends on trucks for transport, we should also be aware of the risks of sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. Major accidents involving semi-trucks are reported daily, often resulting in serious injuries, fatalities, and major property damage.
Trucker Shortage Leads to Lowered Standards for Drivers
Because trucking companies can’t find enough drivers, goods aren’t being delivered as quickly as the retailers are demanding. This has led to significant price increases, and this pressure is pushing truck companies to hire inexperienced – and sometimes elderly – drivers for long-haul drives right out of trucking school.
While the government has done more to discourage cheating on the number of rest hours required for drivers, the potential for drivers to abuse the rules, speed, and use substances to stay awake is likely to increase with the extra pressure to deliver on tight deadlines. This pressure, coupled with inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of massive commercial vehicles, seems to be a recipe for disaster on our nation’s highways.
Liability for Truck Accidents
When a truck is involved in an accident, determining liability can be complicated. In many cases, the truck driver is responsible for causing the crash. If they were distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if they were otherwise driving aggressively or carelessly, it could be their fault.
However, it is also likely that the trucking company is liable as well. Trucking companies are responsible for conducting thorough background checks, hiring responsible drivers, and training them to drive the vehicle safely. They must also abide by rules requiring certain rest periods for drivers. With the trucker shortage, trucking companies may start cutting corners and lowering their hiring and training standards out of desperation.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you are hurt in a truck accident, a lawyer can help you determine precisely who is responsible for the accident and help you get the full compensation you are owed.
At the Sloan Firm, we live by the concept that what matters to you, matters to us. When you’re in a trucking accident in Texas, we want to be the law firm you call first.
Our seasoned Texas trucking accident attorneys know how to fight back against the trucking company and the insurance companies to make sure that you get a fair settlement for your claim. Contact us today at by phone or online to schedule a confidential consultation with us.