Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are already a significant safety hazard in South Carolina and throughout the United States. For example, South Carolina data from the Department of Public Safety shows 162 truck accidents involving serious injuries and 104 fatal truck accidents occurred in just one recent year. Meanwhile, national data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports 114,000 truck accidents in which someone was injured in a single year, along with 4,479 fatal accidents.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have led to another crisis that could make truck accidents even more likely: A nationwide shortage of truck drivers. Keep reading to learn more about how the truck driver shortage could make South Carolina roads less safe.
How Could the Truck Driver Shortage Cause Dangerous Roads?
Information from the trucking industry indicates a need for about 80,000 more truck drivers nationwide. The problem could grow as more truckers leave the industry for other jobs with better pay and less severe working conditions.
The truck driver shortage could be making roads less safe for all drivers in three main ways:
- Negligent hiring practices – Trucking companies are only supposed to hire fully qualified drivers, have no prior history of drunk driving or other safety issues, and have some experience behind the wheel. But as it becomes harder for companies to find qualified drivers, they may turn to less qualified applicants. Truck drivers who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, have little experience driving a truck, or have prior traffic infractions on their record are more likely to cause an accident, which puts other drivers at risk.
- Longer hours – The truck driver shortage means that the truckers who are still working are being asked to handle more deliveries. That could lead to truck drivers driving for long hours, even when it would be better for them to stop and rest. Federal Hours of Service rules are supposed to prevent truck drivers from driving while fatigued, but truckers may ignore or circumvent these rules to make their deliveries on time.
- Overloaded trailers – A shortage of truck drivers means fewer trucks are available to make deliveries. Consequently, trucking companies are packing more cargo into trailers than in prior years. The heavier a truck’s payload is, the harder the truck is to control, the longer it takes to stop, and the more damage it can do in a crash. Overloaded trucks are also more likely to suffer mechanical breakdowns that could lead to a collision.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Have you been injured in a truck accident in South Carolina, and someone else was to blame? The truck accident lawyers at the Jebaily Law Firm want to help you demand fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation with a South Carolina truck accident attorney.