Truck drivers are needed all over the country, and Texas is no exception. It’s a high-paying profession, yet one in which there is a major shortage. As more and more experienced drivers start to retire, fewer qualified drivers are entering the profession even though demand is booming and pay is much higher than in many other professions.
The shortage of qualified truck drivers leads to a problem that affects all of us. The fact that there are not enough truck drivers means that the truck drivers that are on the road are working longer shifts and may be driving while stressed and exhausted. This makes driving more dangerous all the time.
How Bad is the Shortage of Truck Drivers?
There are as many as 50,000 available jobs for truck drivers. Efforts to relieve the shortage include offering sign-on bonuses and new incentive pay, but many jobs continue to be unfilled. Companies sometimes end up hiring drivers who are marginally qualified simply because the job needs to be done.
Besides the fact that so many truck drivers are retiring, another problem is that the job is so stressful that people who do it frequently choose to change careers. It’s not unreasonable to wish to be at home more often and to lead a more stable and predictable life. Truckers also find that it’s a way of life that leads to poor eating habits, lack of sleep and disrespect from other drivers.
The Dangers of Overworked Truckers
Our society relies on truck drivers to see that the goods we need are transported across the country. The number of deliveries that need to be made is not decreasing even when there are not enough truck drivers to do the job; the demand for truckers is also increasing with the prevalence of online shopping through Amazon and other companies.
The trucking industry is a key factor in the American economy. A shortage of truck drivers often leads to higher prices and delayed deliveries. But when truckers are exhausted, overworked or inexperienced, the potential for serious accidents is greatly increased.
Efforts to Keep Roads Safe
Efforts are being made to keep roads safe by regulating the trucking industry, particularly how many hours a driver can operate their rig. This is actually a double-edged sword because limited hours of driving cause drivers to experience more hours away from home and this makes truck driving a much less appealing career choice.
Modern technology that can monitor drivers using electronic logging devices is another way to be sure they are getting adequate rest, but many drivers object to being watched that closely. Supervisors may question delays or stops, which may make the job even more stressful and be confining for drivers.
Sharing the Road with Cars
One of the challenges truck drivers face is that car drivers often don’t realize what’s involved in driving a big rig. Car drivers may cut off trucks, not knowing that the trucker may need extra time and space to be able to stop.
The truck driver shortage makes this an even bigger challenge, because inexperienced truck drivers may not have the skills needed to maneuver around car drivers who drive aggressively. When companies offer large pay or large sign-on bonuses to new truckers, they may not actually be hiring qualified or experienced drivers.
Accidents with Big Trucks
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by an inexperienced or exhausted truck driver, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Patterson Law Group using the form on this page. We will get back to you quickly to evaluate your case and see how we can help.