The trucking industry has a shockingly high turnover rate among drivers. In fact, some companies report a driver turnover rate of 90 to 100 percent in a single year. In the most extreme cases, that would mean that no one driving for the company today would have been driving for the company one year ago.
This turnover is understandable when you consider the nature of the work. Commercial truck drivers may be away from their families and social circles for weeks on end, putting in long hours behind the wheel. And the driving is no pleasure cruise. All of the headaches of driving—weather, traffic, construction, and more—must be dealt with while maintaining control of an enormous vehicle. It’s easy to see why many drivers may give up the profession if another opportunity arises.
Meanwhile, demand for commercial truck drivers remains very high, due in no small part to the ongoing increases in online shopping that requires goods to be delivered quickly and frequently. This combination of high demand and high turnover means that at any given time, a large percentage of truck drivers are inexperienced. And inexperienced drivers are frequently more likely to cause an accident.
The Dangers of Inexperience
In many ways, an inexperienced truck driver is like any inexperienced driver. But there is one key difference. While a teenager or new adult driver may make mistakes or even cause accidents, they are driving a vehicle that is much, much smaller than a semi-truck. Trucks can carry over 80,000 pounds and are, in general, 53 feet long. That’s a lot of weight and a lot of length—both of which can make accidents more likely and more serious.
Inexperienced truck drivers may make a range of dangerous errors including:
- Driving while distracted
- Forgetting to check blind spots before changing lanes or turning
- Making poor decisions regarding weather conditions or road/traffic hazards
- Failing to abide by safety regulations, cargo load limits, or maintenance requirements
- Not getting the required and appropriate amount of rest
Any or all of those issues can lead to the kinds of crashes trucks are likely to cause—side-impact, rear-end, or blind spot collisions; jackknifing accidents; and rollovers.
A Note About Licensing Issues
One of the ways the law tries to minimize the dangers posed by inexperienced drivers is to impose strict licensing requirements. Drivers pursuing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must go through training and testing before they are granted the license and allowed to go to work for a commercial trucking company.
However, because the demand for drivers can be so high, there is a market for forged documents for people who want to go to work without going through all the training. A 2006 report from the Department of Transportation found 15,000 suspected cases of fraudulent licenses in 27 states across the country. Those drivers may have failed their safety exams, failed to seek training at all, or be covering up past safety violations that have cost them their legitimate license. These unqualified drivers pose an extra risk on the road.
If You Are Hurt in a Truck Accident, You May Be Entitled to Compensation
If an experienced truck driver causes an accident in which you are injured, you may be able to recover damages to cover:
- Medical expenses—both immediate and ongoing
- Lost wages—including anticipated future losses due to disability
- Pain and suffering
You Need an Experienced Attorney by Your Side
The lawyers of SJ Injury Attorneys will work diligently to ensure you receive fair compensation after you have been hurt in a truck accident. We will investigate the truck driver’s qualifications, experience, and what errors, if any, they made that may have caused the collision. The company the driver works for may desire a quick settlement to make your case go away, but these deals seldom represent the full extent of what you may be able to collect. Our attorneys can make sure you receive appropriate compensation for your injuries and the long-term issues they may cause. Contact us today for a free consultation.