Tractor trailers are an essential part of the American economy, as they deliver goods to all parts of the country. Trucking companies rely on reliable and qualified truck drivers to get loads to their destination and meet tight deadlines. While there are nearly 3.5 million truck drivers in the country, a surprising 160,000 truck driving jobs will go unfilled within the next 10 years. This shortage of qualified truck drivers may lead to an increase in large truck accidents.
With less truckers to transport loads, trucking companies may be pressured to put unqualified truck drivers on the road in an attempt to get their goods delivered on time. Some trucking companies turn job opportunities away simply because they do not have enough drivers to deliver products. Furthermore, truck drivers may choose to stay behind the wheel for longer periods of time, despite federal regulations mandating breaks and rest periods, in order to make deadlines and earn larger paychecks. Truck accidents caused by drowsy and distracted truckers may results from skipped rest periods.
Why are so many trucking positions unfilled? As current drivers age and retire, there are fewer younger, less experienced drivers to take their place. Rather than start a career as a commercial truck driver, many potential truckers do not wish to spend weeks away from their families. In an attempt to entice drivers, trucking companies have increased wages and benefits offered to drivers. Yet, the truck driver shortage is expected to continue to climb over the next decade.