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Truck Driver Shortage and Its Impact on Safe Roads

Although any motor vehicle accident can result in catastrophic injuries, victims in truck accidents often end up with severe injuries – if they even survive the crash. This is due to the size of commercial trucks, as well as the weight of the loads they are hauling. Tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 20 times more than other vehicles they share the roads with.

Because these massive vehicles are difficult to maneuver and operate, it is critical that the person behind the wheel has been properly trained and vetted. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and there are many inexperienced and unqualified tractor-trailer drivers on the nation’s roads.

Truck Driver Shortage

One of the reasons why there are so many inexperienced truck drivers is that there is a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry is short at least 63,000 drivers. This issue will only become more serious, as the organization projects that shortage could increase to almost 180,000 drivers by 2024.

The truck driver shortage has often led to trucking companies to shirk their responsibilities to make sure that all their drivers have been properly trained and have enough experience to operate these massive vehicles. Some trucking companies will ignore a potential hire’s poor driving records or even verify the credentials the driver provides.

 

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Another dangerous issue to driver shortage is that those who are working are often faced with overwhelming and almost impossible delivery schedules. This often leads to truck drivers violating federal and state hours-of-service regulations, leaving fatigued, stressed, and often under the influence truck drivers on the roads.

Trucking companies will also send tractor-trailers on the roads that are dangerously overloaded because they do not have enough truck drivers to make deliveries. Overloaded trucks make it difficult for drivers to safely maneuver the vehicles. Add an inexperienced truck driver to the mix and it’s a recipe for catastrophic disaster.

All these factors are contributing to the increase in the number of people killed and severely injured in tractor-trailer crashes each year. When you don’t have qualified truck drivers behind the wheel, you increase the risk of truck driver error.

Truck driver error is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. In a federal study, the top three errors included:

  • Truck driver fell asleep or was unable to operate the vehicle because of a sudden medical issue (referred to as non-performance).
  • Truck driver was engaged in distracted driving behavior and failed to react to roadway condition (referred to as decision).
  • Truck driver engaged in overcompensating operation or froze (referred to as performance).

Contact a North Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent or reckless truck driver, contact a seasoned North Carolina truck accident attorney. Truck accidents can be more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents because depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for a victim’s injuries.

Our Carolinas personal injury law firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured in truck accidents and will use all available resources to aggressively advocate for you and your family in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

Randall E. Appleton
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia