Older commercial truck drivers could be more dangerous on the national highways than their younger counterparts, according to a report on CBS News. The American Trucking Industry is facing a shortage of drivers, and it’s believed that around 48,000 drivers are needed just to move 70 percent of goods in the United States.
With so many drivers needed, the industry is starting to focus on recruiting retirees. Drivers being recruited are generally over the age of 65 and operate around 10 percent of all commercial motor vehicles in the United States. One question is if these drivers are actually as safe as they could be; as people age, they tend to get into more accidents.
Is more screening needed for commercial drivers? Crash data shows that there was a 19 percent increase in crashes that involved bus drivers and commercial truck drivers who were in their seventies through their nineties in the last three years. Between 2013 and 2015, 12 States reported 6,636 crashes involving elderly commercial truck drivers.
With the shortage of drivers, choosing older drivers may seem like a good solution. The problem is that the older people get, the more they are prone to medical emergencies. They may not be as safe behind the wheel as younger workers, either. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not have an age limit for commercial drivers. When the drivers pass physicals and want to drive, they are allowed to get behind the wheel. Unlike the trucking industry, the aviation industry has a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all pilots. That industry also has a shortage, but it is not turning to the elderly for help.
If you’re in an accident with an elderly truck driver, it’s important to report it for the purpose of data collection and so you can seek the compensation you need during your recovery. It’s important for the government and trucking industry to know the facts, and if older drivers are too dangerous, they should not be on the roads.
Source: CBS News, “Are older commercial truck drivers causing more danger on nation’s highways?,” Oct. 18, 2016