Truck drivers have a big job to do. Each day they transport goods all across the country. This can be anything from groceries to fuel. However, the trucking industry is taking a big blow currently as they are facing a trucker shortage. There are many possible culprits behind the trucker shortage and the topic is highly debated.
The trucker shortage is partly being blamed for the fuel crunch in the United States. This is because companies state that there are not enough truckers to transport fuel that meets the demands of consumers. This has led to higher gas prices and the rush to the pump.
Potential causes of the trucker shortage
There are a few issues to consider that may have led to the trucker shortage. The pandemic which has already caused so much chaos and turned our lives upside down may be partially to blame in this scenario as well. The pandemic changed consumers’ spending habits drastically, which led to there being less of a need to transport goods.
If that sounds strange to you, you are not alone. Despite more and more people shopping online, the need for things like fuel, wood, and other freight drastically dropped. This led to truckers completely leaving the industry.
How are trucking companies dealing with the loss of experienced drivers?
As the trucking industry is beginning to boom again, the problem that companies are seeing is that truckers are not coming back to the industry. It is estimated by Jim Grundy, the CEO of Sisu Energy that the shortage will not just be this summer, but that it can last anywhere from two to four years.
At the end of 2018, there was already a trucker shortage of 60,000 drivers; the pandemic made things worse. It is estimated that trucking companies will need to hire 1.1 million new truckers over the next ten years to keep up with the trends.
Sisu Energy is taking matters into its own hands and is offering an extremely high sign-on bonus. Sisu, which mainly focuses on transporting fuel, is offering $14,000 a week to experienced drivers to get them back in the trucking game – almost $730,000 a year.
What Sisu is offering is beyond anything we have ever seen, but they need not be nervous. Anyone under the age of 25 with less than two years of experience is virtually guaranteed to be denied insurance coverage, so many drivers may not even be eligible for Sisu’s deal.
The American Trucking Association, however, is fighting back against the impositions leveled by insurance companies. They, along with other trucking groups, are pushing for new legislation that would lower the legal trucking age from 21 years of age to 18 years of age. They are pushing this legislation through Congress and it is being referred to as the DRIVE Safe Act.
“If we can train 18-year-olds to fight and protect our freedom abroad, I’m pretty certain we can train them to cross state lines in a Class A truck,” Chris Spear, the president and CEO of the ATA, said.
This proposed legislation plus big cash incentives may be able to bring the trucking industry back to life.
Is a trucker shortage dangerous to other drivers?
It could be. The seeming job security and cash incentive may have you ready to begin driving a truck. However, being a truck driver has its downsides as well. The hours are longer than most other industries which means a lot of time spent away from home and your loved ones. Truck drivers are tasked with moving the country and without them, there are many goods we will never be able to purchase.
Not only are the hours long, but there are stark deadlines to be met and the physical toll is immeasurable. Drivers can be on the road for days on end, stopping for short breaks to eat and getting the proper amount of sleep. This can lead to driver fatigue. If a driver is not alert and aware while they are driving a massive vehicle like a truck, they can make errors that can have devastating consequences for them and those around them.
Finally, it is important to note that driver inexperience is a leading cause of truck accidents. Younger drivers simply don’t have enough hours behind the wheel to make them as safe as experienced drivers do, whether that wheel is in a personal vehicle or a tractor-trailer. This is why insurance companies are so reluctant to cover them in the first place.
Commercial truck accidents are some of the most devastating. If a truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle it is unlikely that the passenger vehicle will escape unscathed. If there are survivors, they may be permanently injured for the rest of their lives. Although we understand the need for truck drivers, we must also consider the risks involved with putting inexperienced truck drivers on the road or pushing current drivers past their breaking point.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you have options. Don’t let the negligent actions of someone else impact how you live, including your ability to pay the bills. The experienced and compassionate team at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law will fight vehemently for your right to compensation. Call us at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent clients in and around Cleveland and Chattanooga, TN, as well as North Georgia.
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