The American Trucking Association (ATA) has warned that the industry may face a shortage of 175,000 drivers by 2024 if current trends continue. As demand for drivers to transport goods and materials continues to increase, the industry may need to hire almost 900,000 drivers over the next decade.
This shortage of drivers across the country has directly led to an increase in truck accidents across the country. Tired, overworked, inexperienced, and possibly unqualified drivers can cause catastrophic collisions that can cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of other vehicles.
Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. is here to offer help to those who have been involved in truck accidents in Virginia Beach and throughout the Tidewater region. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Causing the Trucker Shortage?
There are several factors that contribute to the shortage of experienced drivers. One of the most significant issues is the industry’s inability to attract younger candidates to fill open positions left by retiring drivers. Driving a truck requires long hours in isolation away from family and friends. Many younger workers are increasingly choosing other professions that offer more attractive working conditions.
The industry also struggles with recruiting female drivers, with women comprising just 5% of its workforce, even though they make up 47% of the general workforce.
Some companies have tried to offer incentives and attractive benefits to draw more candidates, but it is clear that they still have a long way to go to meet the rising demand.
How the Shortage of Truck Drivers Leads to More Crashes
When faced with demand for more deliveries, trucking companies may turn to unsafe methods to get the job done and keep making money. They may encourage drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations, forcing tired and overworked drivers out on the road.
Some companies may loosen hiring and training standards to get more drivers behind the wheel. Inexperienced drivers moving cargo across the U.S. may lack the training and ability to handle the massive vehicles they operate and could cause serious crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) even released a study showing that drivers with less than 5 years of driving experience were 41% more likely to cause a crash than those with five years or more of experience behind the wheel.
Trucking companies have a responsibility to recruit qualified candidates and train them properly before sending them out on the road, but far too many of them put profits above public safety. When this happens, severe or fatal accidents can and do occur.
Who Is Liable for Accidents During the Shortage?
Determining liability for a truck accident can be complicated. A single accident may involve a driver, their employer, the owner of the truck, the owner of the goods on the truck, the truck manufacturer, a maintenance company, and the insurance companies for all of these parties.
Depending on the cause of the accident, one or more of these parties may be to blame. For example, if a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and veered into oncoming traffic, the driver is clearly liable. However, if their employer instructed the driver to violate government hours-of-service regulations, the employer may also be liable for forcing them to drive without adequate rest.
How Can Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. Help Me?
After a truck accident in Virginia Beach, you need the personal injury lawyers from Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C., on your side. We can investigate the accident to determine the cause and identify the liable parties. We can then gather the necessary evidence and negotiate with insurance on your behalf. If insurance refuses to offer an acceptable settlement, we will not be afraid to take your case to court.
To learn more about how you can recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other losses, contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.