Truck Driver Shortfall Looms, Raises Safety Issues

line%20of%20trucks.jpgTwo trucking safety questions are on the horizon for the trucking industry, safety groups and Indiana truck accident lawyers.

The first question – how does the industry plan to deal with a looming truck driver shortage that threatens as the recession ends?

The second question is linked to the first – will a driver shortfall mean that there will be more older, and thus less safe, truckers, on the highways?

Last week, several trucking groups and Reuters reported that as the recession loosens its grip on the trucking industry, there will be more opportunities in other areas for young men who would otherwise have turned to trucking. Historically, a good economy means more opportunities for potential trucking candidates.

Trucking isn’t an occupation that you’ll ever find mentioned on any list of Top 10 Best Places to Work in the United States. For the most part, these are physically strenuous, emotionally tiring, and demanding jobs. It’s no wonder that there is a shortage of truck drivers. As the economy brightens, the lure of these jobs will seem even dimmer, as more employment opportunities open up in other areas.

Experts are already concerned that there could be a massive shortfall of more than 180,000 truckers this year alone. That shortfall is expected to increase to 500,000 by next year. With possibly fewer young drivers joining the profession, the industry could find itself with more drivers over 60, operating these massive rigs.

Truckers insist that isn’t a cause for concern. They point out the fact that older drivers may be more experienced and cautious, compared to aggressive, younger drivers. While that may be true, there are other issues that concern an Indiana truck accident attorney. For one thing, the physiological effects of aging may impact a person’s trucking abilities. Aging can affect a person’s vision, eyesight and reflexes.

Additionally, older drivers are more likely to be on prescription medication, for diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Certain medications like those for hypertension, include drowsiness as one of their side effects. Besides, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not mandate that truck drivers above a certain age, get special tests done before they renew their Commercial Driver’s License.

Being a competent, able and alert driver is important when you’re driving any vehicle, but especially more so when you’re driving a massive rig that weighs up to 80,000 pounds. A generation of older truckers at the wheel could be a safety issue as we move into the next decade.