Most drivers who travel America's highways and interstates often note the proliferation of large commercial trucks. Many then, may be surprised to learn that the American trucking industry is currently experiencing a shortage of truck drivers which may actually lead to an increase in truck accidents.
An additional 200,000 truck drivers are needed across the United States and in states like Louisiana, to fill current truck driver vacancies. This number is especially alarming, given that nearly eight percent of Americans are currently unemployment. Those within the commercial trucking industry point to several factors contributing to the shortage of truck drivers.
First, many truckers are getting older and retiring. Baby boomers across the nation are hitting retirement age in record numbers and the trucking industry, much like many other industries, has been greatly impacted. As experienced truckers retire, it's become more difficult to recruit new young drivers.
One reason recruitment of new truck drivers is difficult may be federal age requirements. In order to legally cross state lines a truck driver must be at least 21-years-old. This age requirement automatically disqualifies many high school graduates who often pursue other careers and employment opportunities. Another factor contributing to the shortage involves up-front expenses.
While training is relatively easy and quick, there is an initial investment that may be prohibitive to some individuals. While many trucking companies will reimburse drivers upon hiring, most truck drivers are required to pay for their training which typically costs around $5,000.
Stricter regulations related to truck driver safety may also discourage some would-be truck drivers. During 2010, the federal government began publishing the driving records of individual truck drivers. Drivers who are found to have driving tickets and violations are often fired and unable to find employment.
One can only imagine that the shortage of trained commercial truck drivers may lead trucking companies to hire more inexperienced drivers. It may also force, already fatigued truck drivers to be overworked both which may lead to an increase in truck accidents.
Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Trucking companies dealing with shortage of drivers," Matt Olberding, June 30, 2012