Last year, the American Truckers Association reported a shortage of almost 50,000 truck drivers in the U.S. shipping industry. This could lead to increased prices on nearly all consumer goods, since big rig trucks are the primary means of transport of goods across the country. Even worse, this driver shortage could be causing more truck accidents as companies scramble to make do with fewer workers than are really necessary.
One major problem facing the industry as a result of the driver shortage is inadequate training for new drivers. With so much work to be done, and a decreasing number of workers to do it, many companies are rushing the few new drivers they have through training in order to get them out on the road. The problem is that a lack of experience means an increased chance that a new driver will get into a truck accident.
How Does Inadequate Driver Training Lead to Truck Accidents?
In order to drive a semi-truck, you must obtain a special license, a commercial driver’s license or CDL. There are many driving schools that offer training and certification, but most of these only require two or three weeks of classes before they pronounce you road-worthy. The reality is that being a truck driver is a lot different than most people expect.
Depending on the job, a trucker may be on the road for days at a time, spending most of the hours in the day driving. Anyone who has been on a long car trip knows how daunting even one full day on the road can be in a normal vehicle. When you are driving a big rig truck, with deadlines and other worries on your mind, it can get even worse.
If a young driver is rushed through training and then sent out on a long haul, it can be a recipe for disaster. Semi-truck accidents can be much more serious than regular car accidents simply because of the massive size and scale of the truck. In a collision with a truck, a regular vehicle will always sustain much more damage, and the passengers are at an increased risk for serious injury and even death.
For example, our office recently recovered $1,060,000.00 for a client who was severely injured when he collided with the rear of semi-truck traveling in front of him. The semi-truck was being driving by an inexperienced truck driver who caused the accident when he suddenly stopped his truck on the highway without warning and for no justifiable reason given the traffic conditions.
Some trucking companies do ensure that their new drivers spend time with an experienced driver and get extra training so that they are safe and confident when they get out on the road. However, the current driver shortage means that it is becoming much more costly for companies to do things like this. Recent efforts have been made to increase pay for truck drivers in the hopes of encouraging more people to join the industry, but it may take too long for these attempts to be effective. For now, there is a shortage of semi-truck drivers on the road. And while it may seem that fewer trucks on the road should make driving safer, the opposite may be true if companies are rushing new drivers through training.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys have helped hundreds of people in Illinois and Missouri seek compensation for their personal injuries. Please contact our attorneys today for a free consultation if you have been injured in a truck accident. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.