According to national data, approximately 70 percent of all goods that are sold in this country are transported by commercial trucks. This number has likely increased with the increase of online shopping. Unfortunately, there are not enough commercial truck drivers to keep up with the demand needed to operate these vehicles. The American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry is short at least 63,000 drivers. This issue will only become more serious, as the organization projects that shortage could increase to almost 180,000 drivers by 2024. This problem has lead to an increase in older truck drivers. But one investigation reveals that the increase in older drivers may be a factor in the overall increase of commercial truck accidents.
When looking at truck statistics, about 10 percent of commercial truck drivers who are 65 years of age or older. Most of those drivers have delayed their retirement or have gone back to truck driving after taking some time off. However, in the investigation conducted by a CBS news team, there are also many of these drivers who are brand new and have no prior experience driving these massive commercial vehicles.
Even more alarming is that the crash rate of this truck driver age group has increased by at least 20 percent in the past several years. As part of the information they uncovered, the investigation team found almost 6,700 truck accidents in a dozen states that involved truck drivers in their 70s, 80s, and – incredibly – their 90s.
The trucking industry is governed by the federal government, which sets rules and regulations that all trucking companies must follow. However, just as with other industries in this country, federal law prohibits age discrimination. This means that as long as a person can pass medical and vision tests, complete recognized training, and pass the written and driving tests to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL), that person cannot be prohibited from driving just because they are a certain age.
But just as with all older drivers, there are risks involved in hiring truck drivers in their senior years. As we age, our reflexes become slower and less responsive. This can be catastrophic for someone operating a tractor-trailer. A senior driver may also be taking medications that can interfere with their ability to operate the truck safely or they may be even more prone to fall asleep in a job that already has a high number of fatigued drivers.
When a victim has been injured in a truck accident, their injuries are often serious to severe. Each year, more than 4,000 victims are killed. Some of the damages that a victim can be awarded financial compensation for the following:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses. This includes all emergency treatments, hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, and medical devices
- Loss of income and benefits while the victim is recovering
- Loss of future income if the victim is left with permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of daily life enjoyment
- Permanent disability
Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney for Help
If you have been injured in any type of truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Truck accident cases can be complex, and it is not uncommon for there to be multiple at-fault parties who are responsible for the payment of financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries.
The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has successfully represented many injured victims and their families and we are happy to meet with you and offer legal guidance on what the best options may be for your circumstances. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.