There are 90,000 truck driver openings in the US right now. Trucking industry estimates suggest that number will soar to between 100,000 to 180,000 openings by 2028. But is it possible that cutting the total number of truckers on the road by six figures could cause more trucking accidents in the near future? Let’s look at the evidence.
The average American trucker is 55 years old, and many are looking to retire in the next 5-10 years. The trucking industry is already scrambling to fill seats, and they find themselves in a challenging position as more experienced drivers leave the field.
Trucking companies have anticipated this issue for a long time and prepared for it by successfully lobbying to relax the requirements needed to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The “skills-based” format, as the truck lobby calls it, is intended to streamline the process and help get new drivers on the road in a few weeks rather than a few months.
Turnover rate is one of the trucking industry’s most significant issues as it currently hovers around 96-98% annually. Even when new drivers develop experience behind the wheel, they typically aren’t staying long enough to make use of it. That means even more inexperienced drivers on the road, struggling to fill the places of those who came before.
Because truckers are earning their CDL’s faster than ever, many new drivers find themselves lacking the confidence and skill to handle everyday situations on the road, like merging across multiple lanes or driving in dangerous weather.
That issue of inexperience is, in turn, potentially contributing to a rising number of truck crashes. For example, there were20% more fatal truck accidents in 2018 than in 2009. As more truck drivers retired and few inexperienced trucks take their place, it seems likely these numbers will continue to rise in the 2020s and beyond.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in a trucking crash, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Walnut Creek personal injury attorney from Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (925) 275-5592 or send us an email.