We have a serious problem on our interstates that no one is talking about. Trucking companies can't find enough people who want to drive at the same time truck demand is at an all-time high. Fewer long haul drivers means longer hours for those who are driving. This means more cases of driver fatigue-- and more crashes - even though personal injury lawyers are filing more lawsuits to try to make our roads safer.
What is causing America’s trucker shortage?Even though trucking companies are paying much higher wages due to the trucker shortage, fewer people are wanting to drive big rigs. Industry leaders say they need to find 200,000 truck drivers, but are only able to add 50,000. Truckers are leaving in record numbers with few wanting to take their place. Several reasons are to blame. Millennials don't want to drive big rigs. It can cost up to $8,000 to get a commercial driver's license. It is grueling and boring to drive an 18 wheeler all day long. Many drivers are reaching the age of retirement. And there’s also the issue of safety. Time Magazine listed truck driving as the seventh most dangerous occupation. With too many trucking companies not following safety regulations, driving for everybody has become more dangerous.
Why the shortage of drivers has increased the number of crashes on our roadsAs trucking companies try to make the greatest use of their vehicles and workers, the added stress reduces safety for other drivers on the road. More trucking companies are lowering their hiring standards to get new drivers. The trucking industry is even trying to reduce the minimum age from 21 to 18 (now that's something we are all comfortable with, right?). Companies are pressuring their drivers to work longer shifts. Truckers who are want to make more money and get back home quicker push themselves to drive faster and more dangerously. The trucker shortage has had a huge impact on the number of fatalities involving large trucks. In 2017, the number of large-truck fatalities rose to 4,761, almost a 10% increase over the previous year. During the same time period, fatalities involving other vehicle crashes decreased by 2%. It’s a problem that experts expect to get even worse during the coming years. More lax regulations and high turnover rates will continue to increase the fatality and injury rates. America’s trucker shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time. Almost everyone is buying things online, leading to increased deliveries. Mega companies like Walmart and Amazon are using substantially more trucks. Unfortunately some companies are putting profit ahead of safety.
What causes commercial truck crashes?These are the most common ones that we see:
- Driving while tired
- Using cell phone
- Reckless driving
- Driving while intoxicated/under the influence
- Driving overloaded truck
Commercial truck crash victims may collect substantial damagesTexas and federal law allows those who have been hurt by careless truck drivers to be paid for their damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Commercial trucks almost always have minimum insurance amounts of $750,000.
What you should do if you have been in a collision with a large truckHire a good truck accident lawyer. He is trained to know what to do to get you the maximum results. When we are hired to represent someone who has been injured by a truck driver, these are some of the actions we immediately take:
- Get the police report and find out the critical information about ownership of the vehicles, driver, and amount of insurance available;
- Get photographs and scene information;
- Get eyewitness statements;
- Speak to the police officers;
- Work with an accident reconstructionist;
- Make sure evidence is not altered;
- Try to inspect the tractor-trailer and conduct a black box download;
- File suit (and obtain a restraining order if necessary); and
- Make sure that our client's injuries are being treated by doctors.