The long-haul trucking industry is facing a shortage of 20,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). And it will just get worse: By 2014, the industry group predicts, the shortage may increase to 111,000 if trends continue. The trucking industry hauls nearly 70 percent of the freight that is moved in the U.S. Of the 3.4 million truckers on the road, 1.3 million are long haulers, according to the ATA; that is the segment of the industry most affected by the shortage. See article.
Why? There are several reasons. First,the economy is growing annually at more than 3 percent, but the population from which carriers hire drivers is almost stagnant, growing annually at only half a percent. Second, average pay for long haul truck drivers has fallen slightly below the average pay for construction workers. Third, older drivers are retiring and younger drivers don’t want to spend that much time away from home. For quality of life reasons, they prefer to work closer to home. Third, driver turnover is extremely high, due to a combination of some drivers changing jobs every time child support garnishments catch up with them, and some simply seeking what appears to be a “greener pasture” with another company.
The implications for public safety are obvious. As the industry is forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for drivers, inevitably there will be more inexperienced, inadequately trained, marginal drivers steering big rigs down the Interstate. This may be especially true with smaller trucking companies that are less inclined to enforce high standards and require more than lip service in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a “SuperLawyer” in Atlanta Magazine and one of the “Legal Elite” in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks).