The Dangers of Truck Driver Shortages in California

truck driver behind the wheel of a truckAccording to the American Trucking Association, the U.S. will be short about 175,000 truck drivers by the year 2026. This shortage of qualified drivers is raising concerns for many across the country about roadway safety.

Our truck accident lawyers in Sacramento are prepared to review your claim to see what legal options may be available to you if you were injured in an accident involving a truck.

We offer a free consultation and there are no upfront fees.

Working Drivers Must Still Meet Deadlines

Despite not having enough drivers to move shipments around the country, the demand for goods continues to increase, especially during a time when most people are shopping online. Companies rely on satisfied consumers who expect their products to arrive in a timely manner with no regard for the process that gets that package to their front door. This means the strained trucking industry still needs to meet tight deadlines.

To meet expectations, many truck drivers are on the road for longer periods without mandatory breaks between drive time. Driver exhaustion may lead to more mistakes that could result in serious, or fatal, accidents.

Fewer Willing Drivers Increases Negligent Hiring and Retention

Because there is a smaller pool of people keen on becoming truck drivers, companies are more willing to overlook blemishes on a person’s driving record or personal background when deciding to hire drivers. Due to these negligent hiring processes, people without the proper qualifications may be allowed on roadways, posing serious risks to those who share the road.

Some examples of negligent hiring may include:

  • Failure to conduct regular drug testing
  • Failure to thoroughly review driving and accident records
  • Failure to verify specializations or certifications for certain cargo

Negligent retention of drivers is also an issue. Companies may be more reluctant to fire drivers who continually violate drug and alcohol policies or have well-documented accident records out of fear that they may not be able to replace the driver, causing their profits to suffer.

Have Federal Regulations for Drivers Changed?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency has placed some focus on easing the process of obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) after states cut back licensing operations during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The agency has also extended the number of hours drivers can work.

The easing of some of these regulations, according to the agency, was done in hopes of reducing the bottleneck at ports causing serious supply chain issues in the U.S. However, the unfortunate consequences of fewer regulations may be a rise in trucking accidents.

What is California Doing to Solve the Problem?

At least one high school in California is beginning to offer a truck-driving program for students who are 18 years old in an attempt to garner more interest from a younger crowd. The average age of truck drivers in the U.S. is 54, and as more drivers reach retirement age, there are no drivers waiting in the wings to replace them once they retire.

The state allows 18-year-olds with a clean driving record to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) to drive intrastate, meaning within state borders. Once the person reaches the age of 21, he or she may drive across state lines.

Applying for a CDL in California requires the following:

  • Clean driving record
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Passing a 10-year record check
  • TSA screening

Another potential solution from the state, especially in Silicon Valley, is the use of self-driving trucks. However, the technology is not at the point where a truck may be able to operate without anyone in the driver’s seat. Therefore, at least for the time being, truck drivers are still needed.

Injured? Call an Experienced Attorney Today

The truck driver shortages in California and across the U.S. pose serious dangers for those who share the road with the drivers who do show up to work and do so under high-stress conditions with a lack of proper rest. Mistakes by these drivers may lead to serious injuries to innocent motorists and their loved ones.

Our attorneys are prepared to help you stand up for your rights if you get injured in a truck crash. The consultation is free and there are no fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping injury victims through the entire legal process and are prepared to do the same for you.

Call us today at 916-777-7777.