Current reports from commercial insurance companies such as CRC Group and from the American Trucking Associations, Inc. show that specific problems found throughout the trucking industry are likely contributing to the increase in both the severity and frequency of commercial trucking accidents in Virginia and throughout the United States.
Why are so many more trucking accidents taking place on Virginia roadways?
The Virginia commercial truck accident lawyers from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you collect evidence that is vital to your case. To learn more about Virginia commercial trucking accidents or to initiate a claim, speak with one of our Virginia truck accident attorneys today.
Truck Accident Statistics
Just a few years ago, the trucking industry was responsible for the transportation of 80% of all cargo in the United States and generated an average of $792 billion in revenue. These oversized commercial trucks, however, were also involved in about 11% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents even though they account for just 3% of all registered vehicles nationwide.
Even with more stringent regulations and new technology, the ATA noted that, currently, commercial trucks are involved in roughly 60% more accidents per mile driven than they were less than a decade ago.
Listed below are two essential, interconnected factors that industry experts think may be the cause of the increased number of serious truck accidents.
A Record Shortage of Truck Operators
In 2021, the ATA stated that the commercial trucking industry encountered a historic shortage of qualified truck operators, with nearly 80,000 driving positions going unfilled. If this trend continues, industry specialists predict that the shortage will exceed the 160,000 mark by 2030. The ATA has also calculated that the commercial trucking industry will have to recruit roughly one million new drivers during the next ten years in order to keep operating at its current level of productivity.
There are many different reasons for this driver shortage, but some of the factors that are most commonly cited are:
- An insufficiency of female operators. Women truck drivers account for only 7% of the industry’s personnel
- The inability of prospective and current operators to meet hiring criteria and/or pass background checks or drug tests
- Federal trucking laws that make it illegal for commercial operators who are less than 21 years of age to cross state lines
- Reduced operator training and retention caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
- The adverse lifestyle that is associated with driving a truck, such as long periods of time away from home and family
- Issues with the infrastructure on the nation’s roadways, such as widespread congestion and a general lack of suitable parking spaces and other accommodations
Truck Operators and Their Rigs Are Aging
Another influential factor in the rise of commercial trucking accidents is the ever-increasing average age of the industry’s workforce. The age of the average truck operator in the United States is 48 years old. While older drivers may be a wealth of practical and institutional knowledge, a lot of them are also starting to retire.
As the average age of truck drivers increases, the retirement rate is increasing right along with it. Commercial trucking companies are struggling to find and employ new drivers to replace them. Unfortunately, this has led to some companies easing their hiring requirements, including dropping the required amount of commercial truck driving experience to as little as a year. While this will almost certainly encourage some new drivers, it also significantly increases the number of undertrained, inexperienced, and potentially unsafe truck drivers on the road.
Speak With a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney
Speaking with a law firm that has decades of experience in handling Virginia commercial truck accidents can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Our lawyers work hard to collect evidence, analyze it, and use their findings to build the most convincing case possible.
If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, contact the Virginia truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as you can by calling (833) 997-1774 or through our online contact form.