The trucking industry has a lot of problems the average American isn’t aware of. For example, you might not know that the average truck driver has a 1-in-12 chance of being in a crash each year. But the shocking truth about these truck accidents is that risk has consistently grown every year for almost a decade.
A Sharp Rise
There are approximately 400,000 truck crashes per year. When these crashes happen, they are almost certain to cause some degree of injury. Moreover, high-speed collisions are very likely to cause a fatality.
While we expect that truck drivers will operate their vehicles safely and that new technology will help them avoid accidents, reporting data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found exactly the opposite. Fatal collisions have increased every year since 2011, spiking harshly in 2016.
Simply put, fatal truck accidents have increased by 30% in the past 10 years. That’s an enormous problem. But what are the causes of this and what can be done to fix it?
The trucking industry has a lot of problems right now. More than half of all truck drivers plan to retire in the next five years. Young people aren’t applying to drive trucks and almost 75% of those who do quit within a year.
Combined, these factors have led to a shortage of nearly 100,000 truck drivers. To address this, the trucking industry lobbied the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to slash the training requirements needed to earn a commercial driver’s license.
In 2015, an average truck driver could earn their license in 8-12 weeks. Since those requirements changed, it’s closer to 3-6 weeks. That means there’s a growing number of truck drivers on the road who are not only inexperienced but are likely to quit before they can become safe drivers.
As a result, truck accident fatalities are rising quickly and show no signs of falling until there is a fundamental change within the trucking industry.
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