The United States is facing a shortage of commercial truck drivers. The trucking industry estimates that it needs about 330,000 more drivers by 2020, and there’s currently a lacking of about 30,000, according to a report in the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
In some cases, this might force current truck drivers to pick up the slack in jobs that already places too many demands on them. Ultimately, this might affect the truck drivers’ safety, as well as that of others on the road. Below is a brief overview of how this shortage might affect current truck drivers and the safety of the roads.
Greater Demands Could Mean Driver Exhaustion
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs most of the regulations regarding commercial truck drivers in the U.S. The FMCSA has set strict guidelines for trucker safety by restricting the number of hours that a trucker can stay behind the wheel each day and week. The rules even require drivers keep track of their hours of service via a logbook or electronic recording device.
However, some trucking companies might push drivers to exceed these hours in the face of deadlines for cargo delivery. In some situations, with the shortage of truck drivers, truckers already on the job may find that they face even tougher demands and some might choose to stay behind the wheel longer to meet those demands.
This type of pressure may result in exhaustion for the driver. This could impair reflexes and lead to careless behavior associated with driver fatigue. Ultimately, whether or not the trucking company required the driver exceed allowable hours of service, it may be liable in the event of an accident.
The driver’s hours of service records may be useful as evidence the driver exceeded the FMCSA allowable hours behind the wheel or on duty over a given period of time.
Greater Demands Could Encourage Reckless Driving
Not only might drivers feel pressured to drive beyond the allowable hours of service and continue operating the truck when fatigued, some might engage in risky behaviors if they’re facing tight deadlines. While most truckers are responsible drivers, some might engage in reckless driving behaviors that might include speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and following too closely.
According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, drivers with one reckless driving citation are 325 percent more likely to be involved in a crash in the future. Again, the trucking company may be liable if the driver causes an accident.
It may fall on your truck injury attorney to help identify whether or not a driver was encouraged to engage in risky behavior to meet deadlines. A police report and eyewitness statements may be valuable evidence in a case tied to reckless behavior to establish fault for the accident.
Get Legal Help after an Accident in Ohio
If you’re in Ohio, call Bressman Law if injured by a negligent trucker in a truck driving accident. David Bressman will review the details of your case and help establish liability as well as the damages to which you are entitled. Call 877-538-1116 or toll-free 877-538-1116 to set up your free consultation and get started on your case today.