Did you know that there is a truck driver shortage? According to some estimates, around 48,000 truck drivers are needed to fill seats at trucking companies. And since almost 70 percent of the country’s goods are shipped by truck, a shortage like this could spell disaster for the economy. So how are shipping companies making up for this shortage? They are hiring older truck drivers, and that might be putting you in danger on the road.
Could Older Truck Drivers Be Too Dangerous for the Open Road?
A family of four from Oklahoma City was travelling to St. Louis when a truck flipped and rolled over their car. No one in that car survived, and six other people died as the truck rolled over two more cars. The man driving that tractor trailer was 76 years old. In New York, a 74-year-old truck driver lost control while carrying a load of stones. That truck crashed into traffic and hurt 10 people.
Law enforcement is beginning to fear that these types of crashes could become an epidemic, and they have plenty of reasons to worry. Over the last three years, crashes involving commercial drivers who were 70 years old or older rose 19 percent. From 2013 to 2015, there were over 6,636 collisions involving truck drivers over the age of 70, and 1,264 of those accidents happened right here in Florida.
Right now, any person can become a truck driver regardless of age. As long as the driver passes the physical, they are able to work driving huge trucks that carry hundreds of tons. However, law enforcement officials are afraid that desperation will keep some companies from performing comprehensive physicals. This means that potential drivers who can’t handle the rigors of long hauling might be hired, and that could put everyone on the road at risk.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it’s considering the issue, but there is no word on if they will seek new regulations. Do you think there should be an age limit on truck drivers? Or would that be unlawful age discrimination? Tell us what you think on Facebook and Twitter. You can also keep up with this topic by following our Miami truck accident lawyers on our blog.