Truck Driver Shortage Accidents
The trucking industry is not immune to the growing labor shortage in America. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) currently forecasts a shortage of 160,000 truckers by 2031. This shortage has led to a spike in the number of inexperienced and overworked truck drivers on the road. Motorists traveling near these truckers stand a greater chance of sustaining catastrophic injuries if a collision occurs.
The experienced truck accident attorneys at Swenson & Shelley can help if you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident. Our award-winning law firm takes a comprehensive approach to truck accident cases. We can do everything, from investigating your case and negotiating with insurance companies to helping you find the medical care you need and taking your case to trial if necessary. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Understanding the Truck Driver Shortage
The truck driver shortage is attributed to many factors. Chief among them include:
- Lifestyle – Being a truck driver is not an easy career path. It is an occupation that often requires long hours on the road away from family and friends, so it’s not for everyone. It takes a commitment to what can be a very isolating job.
- Retirement – Many seasoned truck drivers are reaching retirement age. Without a steady source of experienced candidates to fill their shoes, there simply won’t be a large enough supply of truck drivers to keep up with the transportation demand.
- Safety – USA Today ranks truck driving as the 7th most dangerous profession in the United States due to the prevalence of traffic accidents.
- Inability to pass drug tests – Marijuana violations sidelined more than 10,000 truck drivers in a recent year.
The ATA also acknowledged the lack of female truck drivers — currently comprising just seven percent of all drivers — also affects the available pool of potential workers who could close the gap. Trucking companies are attempting to combat the truck driver shortage by offering financial incentives to prospective drivers. Though the gap lessened slightly in 2022, the ATA estimates the decline is only temporary.
How Bad is the Truck Driver Shortage in the U.S.?
The ATA Truck Driver Shortage Analysis explains that the truck driver shortage affects the entire supply chain. More than 70 percent of the nation’s freight is moved by trucks. As volumes increase, the deficit becomes even more apparent. The trucking industry was short roughly 78,000 drivers in a recent year. Since then, the challenges of the post-pandemic labor market have only exacerbated the problem.
What Does a Trucker Shortage Mean for Utah Motorists?
The truck driver shortage means other drivers on the Utah interstates must be more vigilant and cautious around big rigs. As the trucking industry attempts to meet the demand for drivers, expect to see younger and more inexperienced truck drivers on the road.
Another possible implication of the shortage is that trucking companies may try to cut corners to maintain their profits. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations limit the number of hours their drivers can spend on the road before resting. Fatigue can impact even the most experienced trucker’s driving abilities. If their employer encourages them to break the law, the company or driver could be financially liable for any accidents or injuries they cause.
How Do Inexperienced Drivers Cause Truck Accidents?
Driving a commercial truck takes specialized training and licensure. But just like driving a regular car, there is no substitute for experience. A longtime trucker understands the challenges of maneuvering big rigs and the safest ways to account for difficult traffic patterns, weather conditions, larger blind spots, and other unique considerations that come with driving a semi-truck. The simple fact is that tractor-trailers are large, unwieldy vehicles that take skill and experience to control safely.
How Can I Prove a Trucking Company or Driver is Liable for My Injuries?
When a truck driver commits an error resulting in an accident, the trucker and potentially their employer can be liable for the consequences. However, proving that such an error led to the accident and your injuries requires extensive supporting evidence. At Swenson & Shelley, our attorneys can investigate the circumstances of the accident, request records concerning driver training and vehicle maintenance from the trucking company, interview witnesses, and thoroughly evaluate all parties who may be responsible for the accident.
While you heal, our attorneys will prepare a robust truck accident claim demanding full compensation for your losses. Compensation can include money for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life, and other relevant damages.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt in a Truck Accident?
If you’re involved in a truck accident, you should:
- Notify emergency services – Truck accidents often result in the worst injuries. Contact 911 immediately to bring police and an ambulance to the accident scene.
- Collect evidence – Take photos and videos of the crash site from all angles, if possible. Get the truck driver’s name, employer, and insurance information. Ask for the names and contact numbers of any witnesses. Later, obtain a copy of the police accident report.
- Seek medical attention – The impact of a collision with a large truck is capable of causing injuries that you may not feel in the moment. See a doctor right away so that any “invisible” injuries receive immediate treatment. Swift medical treatment will also help your legal claim later, showing the insurance company you did everything possible to protect your health.
- Contact a Utah truck accident attorney – A truck accident claim is not your everyday car accident claim. State and federal laws apply, and the potential value of your claim could be higher than you think. A lawyer can push for maximum compensation for your injuries.
In Utah, there is a four-year statute of limitations for filing a truck accident lawsuit. It is best to have legal representation as soon as possible to ensure you meet the deadline.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Utah Today
Swenson & Shelley is a premier personal injury law firm serving the wrongfully injured throughout Utah. When you work with us, you get attorneys with experience and a track record of success to support you during your darkest hours. Call or contact us today for a free case review with a truck accident lawyer in Utah.