While the commercial driver shortage in the U.S. is good news for prospective truck and bus drivers looking for work, it may be bad news for the rest of us traveling on America’s roads. According to Industrytoday.com, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Economic Analyst, Rod Suarez said, “During the last recession, beginning in 2008, the driver shortage had been eliminated due to industry volume plummeting, but as it began to recover in 2011, so too did the reemergence of the shortage come about as well, growing to 38,000 jobs by 2014, and 48,000 by the end of 2015.”
While that sounds like good news for Americans, trucking companies and others are recruiting drivers who are 65 years old and over to fill these vacant commercial truck driver spots, a move that many have warned will translate to increased danger on our highways. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Commercial Truck Accident
In 2009, a 79-year-old tractor-trailer driver slammed into cars that were stopped on I-44 in Northeast Oklahoma due to a previous accident that occurred on the Will Rogers Turnpike. Although the tractor-trailer driver, Donald Creed, was admitted to Freeman Hospital West with head and other injuries, he did not lose his life like the 10 people who were killed in the pileup. The Highway Patrol said that the tractor trailer failed to slow down when it approached the standstill traffic and landed on top of three of the vehicles involved in the accident. There was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved. The driver was eventually charged with negligent homicide.
Commercial Bus Accident
On August 19, 2016, a bus accident in Newark, New Jersey turned tragic when an empty New Jersey Transit bus driven by a 70-year-old T-boned another New Jersey Transit bus full of passengers. 19 passengers were hospitalized, seven of them were considered in critical condition, and two lost their lives. Although the National Transportation Safety Board stated that they would not be investigating the accident, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office was at the scene investigating.
Trucking vs. Aviation Industry Standards
These are just two accidents out of thousands that have occurred in the past few years. According to research that was conducted by CBS News, the age group that is involved in the most accidents by far is 70-79-year-olds. According to the FMCSA, the agency that is in charge of regulating the trucking industry, companies cannot discriminate based on age, but despite the fact that the aviation industry is also facing a shortage, it requires pilots to retire at 65.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck or bus accident in Pennsylvania, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorney who has the know-how to take on the trucking company, their insurance company, and their lawyers. At Solnick & Associates, LLC, we have the experience and the knowledge and we are not afraid to take a case to trial and fight to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (877) 415-6495 to discuss the details of your case.
(image courtesy of Matthew Henry)