Truck Driver Shortage Leads to a High Risk of Trucking Accidents in North Carolina due to Driver Fatigue

The trucking industry will likely face a problem by 2014 considering it is expected to increase wage bills by as much as 30 percent, but there is a deficit in truck drivers and a high demand for loads to be transported.

Asheville personal injury lawyers know that this will likely translate to more trucking accidents in Charlotte, Statesville and elsewhere because employed drivers will be asked to extend their hours of service, make longer trips, transport heavier loads which directly affects the safety of truck drivers and other motorists sharing the roads with them.
Bloomberg reports the driver shortage is likely due to the high demands and stricter regulations being placed on the trucking industry and truck drivers in general. By next year, it is expected the shortage will grow to 300,000 vacant full-time positions which equates to approximately ten percent of the workforce. There is a high demand for shipments with a slowly recovering economy, but there aren’t enough quality truck drivers to get the cargo transported. Trucking companies are being forced to increase wages just to keep drivers employed, some as much as 2 to 3 percent.

Government restrictions on hours of service, size of loads, federal emissions rules and driving experience or poor driving record make it less desirable for truckers to continue driving for companies but on the flip side trucking companies have a smaller pool of applicants when they sift out drivers with less than reputable driving records.

The financial burden placed on trucking companies is in large part due to the federal emissions rules placed on companies to put more fuel-efficient trucks on roadways as well as the high-priced diesel fuel used to operate them. The cost of diesel fuel on average has been 30 percent higher this year than through August of last year. The only saving grace for the trucking industry is that the speed of transport is faster than if companies needing freight or cargo transported were to switch to rail shipment.

It is amazing that we are even discussing a truck driver shortage considering the nationwide unemployment rate remains over 9 percent. If truck drivers could travel for less than 3 week jaunts for a single customer at a time it may make being employed by a company more attractive.

The average yearly salary for a driver is $40,000, which isn’t all that much considering the wear and tear on their body as well as the required time away from home and family. Drivers who get laid off don’t rush right back into another trucking job because they prefer to find something with fewer hours and closer to home.

The long and the short of it is, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists continue to be at risk for serious or fatal injury on roadways due to the fact that truck drivers are overworked, are in a hurry to make deliveries or carry more weight for long periods of time on their truck because there aren’t enough drivers employed in the trucking industry. Stay alert and use caution when occupying the same roadway as a truck driver as they may be too drowsy or distracted to see you.

Contact the injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A if you have been involved in a trucking accident in North or South Carolina. Call 1-800-887-1965 to make a free appointment to speak with an attorney today.

Additional Resources:
Driver Shortage Shows Gain in U.S. Truck Cargo: Freight Markets, by Natalie Doss, Bloomberg.

Blind Spots Increase the Risk of Asheville Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 13, 2011.

Compliance with Safety Regulations an Issue for Experienced Attorneys Handling North Carolina Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 14, 2011.

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