Currently, 70 percent of freight in the United States is transported by commercial trucks. The trucking industry, however, is experiencing a high turnover rate, primarily due to an overall dissatisfaction in compensation and benefits. According to NPR, the shortage has been a problem for nearly a quarter-century and has caused the demand for freight to increase significantly.
The Trucking Industry Turns to Younger Drivers
According to an article by The Trucker.com, the trucking industry will need an additional 50,000 drivers in the near future. The shortage of truck drivers is expected to exceed 174,000 by 2026. In order to keep up with this trucker demand, the trucking industry has been turning to younger drivers with much less experience than their older counterparts.
Amid a shortage of truck drivers, bipartisan lawmakers introduced the DRIVE-Safe Act. Currently, federal law restricts truck drivers under the age of 21 from commercial driving across state lines. If the DRIVE-Safe Act becomes law, it will remove those restrictions.
Survey Participants Show Support
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) commissioned a recent Harris Poll (conducted March 5-7, 2019) that found something rather staggering. Roughly 86 percent of Americans ages 18 and older showed support for the DRIVE-Safe Act when answering questions regarding the trucking industry’s driver shortage.
In addition, more than 9 out of 10 survey participants believe that the U.S. economy is greatly impacted by the commercial truck driver shortage. About 71 percent of participants also believe that it will raise shipping costs for businesses and consumers.
“This bill creates opportunity while reinforcing a culture of safety far and above current standards to provide the next generation of drivers with the critical skills they need to operate a truck in the 21st century,” said Mark Allen, president and CEO of IFDA.
Addressing Safety Issues
While the DRIVE-Safe Act will likely benefit our economy, it’s important that safety issues are addressed. With fully-loaded trailers, large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 lbs and take the length of two football fields to stop when moving at a speed of 60 mph.
The DRIVE-Safe Act would implement a two-step training program for drivers ages 18-21 – which involves 400 on-duty hours and 240 hours in the cab with an experienced driver. Additionally, new drivers will be trained exclusively on trucks equipped with collision mitigation systems, video event capture, and speed limiters that prevent trucks from exceeding 65 mph.
When it comes to operating a large commercial truck, there is no substitute for adequate training and experience. Should you or a loved one be injured in a truck accident, it’s critical that you seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Contact Chad Jones Law today to find out how we can help.