The shortage of truck drivers is causing the cost of freight to increase and trucking companies much grief. The lack of truck drivers has gotten so acute that companies cannot find qualified drivers and forced to hire drivers with experience much less than they usually would accept.
The reasons for the truck driver shortage appear to be low pay and the lack of a family or social life for a long-haul trucker. While pay and bonuses have increased, the median salary for truck drivers still appears to be relatively low as referenced by surveys of trucking pay. Private companies employing truck drivers pay better wages with more benefits.
Recently, a bill has been introduced to reduce the age of those able to drive across state lines carrying freight as a professional driver with a CDL. The law is shortsighted in both solution and safety and should not be passed.
The solution to a truck driver shortage should be better working conditions and higher pay making the job attractive to more people. While the proposed legislation will not have a material impact on the number of people who enter the industry, allowing drivers under the age of twenty-one behind the wheel of a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds is not a good plan.
One of the most critical factors of a safe driver is experience. The more experienced the driver, the less likely of an accident occurring. As the Center for Disease Control studies suggests, age is the huge factor in car accidents. Not only are there more teenage fatalities, but simple safety precautions such as seat belt use are most often ignored with younger drivers.
Generally, the older the driver, the safer the driver. Given the number of fatal 18-wheeler accidents in the State of Texas, reducing the age of a long-haul driver to under 21 will not have a significant impact on the number of drivers, but will impact the safety of our highways.
As hard as it may be for trucking companies to raise prices to allow for higher wages and better benefits, that is the key to filling the available jobs with qualified and safe drivers.
Call truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner for a free case evaluation if you were injured in an accident with a big rig.