An improving economy may put more people in harm’s way of commercial truck drivers; or more specifically, inexperienced commercial truck drivers.
According to a recent report from the American Trucking Associations, a leading advocacy group for the nation’s commercial trucking industry, trucking companies in the first quarter of this year experienced a very large driver turnover rate. For trucking companies with at least $30 million in annual revenue, the driver turnover rate for January through March 2013 was 97 percent. For smaller trucking operations, the turnover rate was 82 percent quarter – compared to 76 percent for the fourth quarter of 2012.
One reason given for this high churn rate is that the economy is growing, thereby creating more demand and competition for commercial truckers. What’s of particular danger to motorists is that the trucking industry is having trouble keeping up with the demand for drivers, which means putting more new, inexperienced drivers on the nation’s roads.
Regardless of industry or profession, inexperience can lead to mistakes. In terms of commercial trucking, inexperienced drivers who make careless mistakes or succumb to fatigue can be responsible for deadly outcomes.
Call for Better Big Rig Driver Training
Another trucking group recognizes the dangers of inexperienced and ill-prepared drivers. Last month the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a news release in which it expressed concerns over proper training of new long-haul truck drivers. The release points out that training requirements for big rig drivers aren’t included in current regulations, and that testing for Commercial Drivers Licenses – which all commercial vehicle drivers must possess – isn’t adequate for the challenges and demands facing today’s drivers.
The organization states in its news release that driver churn “results in more accidents.”
Trucking companies, regardless of economic pressures, should ensure that their drivers are safe and well trained. Therefore, when their drivers cause catastrophic accidents, they should be held accountable to their victims.