With about 100,000 open truck driver positions, inexperienced drivers are increasingly behind the wheel says Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear.
No matter what the job if there are many openings and employers eager to hire, those who are hiring may lower the qualifications to get the positions filled. One of those qualifications is experience. There are currently a huge number of openings for commercial truck drivers and many of those openings are being filled by people with little or no experience. Given the potential dangers posed by 80,000-pound tractor-trailers, Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear warns the rest of us on the road may be at greater risk.
Truck drivers are driving more miles and hauling more freight than ever. One reason is that there’s a driver shortage which has been an issue for the trucking industry for years, according to Heavy Duty Trucking1.
- Truck drivers as a group are getting older (the average age is 49) and more of them are retiring.
- There is a high turnover rate because the job is very stressful, potentially dangerous, long stretches of time could be spent away from family and generally truck drivers don’t make a lot of money (about $40,260 a year on average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics2).
By some estimates there is currently an unmet need for about 100,000 commercial truck drivers as we head into 2017.
Trucking companies are trying to address the problem.
- They are trying to hold onto the drivers they have by improving benefits (including more time at home and retirement plans), giving safe driver and performance related incentives and by creating first year career advancement opportunities to retain new drivers.
- Some companies offer those wanting to be drivers free commercial driver’s license (CDL) training and job opportunities after completion.
A major CDL school with a facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is Roadmaster Drivers School. According to its blog3, “Drivers fresh out of truck driving school get hired every day all over America.” Instead of experience, Roadmaster suggests future tractor-trailer drivers show potential employers they have clean driving and criminal records, a steady work history and good health. Not surprisingly Roadmaster also claims attending its school will help a student get a job.
Is a lack of a criminal record, good health and passing CDL training enough to entrust a person with an 80,000 pound vehicle that can travel highway speeds? For many trucking companies the answer is yes.
The greatest challenge to commercial truck and accident safety management is driver turnover, according to Brad Vliek of Emkay, which manages truck fleets, who was interviewed by Work Truck magazine4. “There is a small labor pool for hiring experienced truck drivers. New, inexperienced drivers have a longer learning curve leading to constant training and higher accident rates,” Vliek stated.
As good as CDL training may be and though a new driver may be capable and motivated, driving a truck, like any other job, is learned by doing. Unfortunately mistakes by new truck drivers may include causing truck accidents that result in serious injuries or deaths.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer right away. Your lawyer can answer your questions and help you determine the next steps in your case.
Call Philadelphia truck accident lawyer Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW today to discuss your case with a knowledgeable vehicle accident attorney.
1 Heavy Duty Trucking- http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2016/12/state-of-trucking-for-2017.aspx
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm
3 Roadmaster Driving School Blog- http://www.roadmaster.com/blog/can-inexperienced-drivers-get-hired/
4 Work Truck magazine http://www.merchantsfleetmanagement.com/docs/default-source/articles/truck_safety.pdf