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Truck Driver Shortage and Increased Truck Accidents in Tennessee

There is currently a shortage of about 60,000 truck drivers at trucking companies across the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), USA Today reported earlier this year.

Truck driver shortages can have a significant impact on the truckers who are currently on the road as their employers push them to speed up deliveries and drive longer, often leading to exhaustion, burn out, and violations of the hours-of-service regulations.

It can also endanger others on the road when trucking companies relax hiring and training policies to get more drivers out on the roads to deliver their loads. A shortage of new drivers may also mean that veteran truckers delay retirement and continue driving into old age.

Truck Driver Shortage in Tennessee

The Commercial Appeal reported that the Olympic Career Training Institute (OCTI) was expecting to train 500 truck drivers in the first year of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program geared toward Memphis-area job seekers.

While the hiring of additional drivers might seem like good news to those in Tennessee, there is still a concern that trucking companies might try to cut corners while hiring new drivers and might overlook red flags like traffic violations, intoxicated driving, and other forms of negligence that should be identified during a thorough background check.

It is also worrisome that trucking companies have started recruiting from age pools that previously weren’t heavily considered, like younger drivers or older drivers, an issue that was raised in a recent Washington Post story. While older individuals might be willing or need to work, operating a large vehicle for long distances might not be the safest occupation for them, and could put the driver and others on the road at risk.

Tennessee Truck Accident Statistics

The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security reported that large trucks or buses were involved in 131 traffic fatalities in 2019 year to date (YTD) after being involved in 114 fatalities in 2018 YTD. The 131 fatalities in 2019 YTD were also more than the 114 fatalities in 2017 YTD, 111 fatalities in 2016 YTD, 119 fatalities in 2015 YTD, and 113 fatalities in 2014 YTD.

It was also reported that Greene County had 119 heavy or medium truck crashes in 2006, 111 in 2007, and 90 in 2008. Hamblen County had 83 heavy or medium truck crashes in 2006, 72 in 2007, and 71 in 2008.

Expected Truck Driver Outlook in the Future

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello told USA Today that the shortage could reach six-figures by 2024, with the industry short more than 100,000 drivers in five years and 160,000 drivers by 2028.

Another possible solution to the driver shortage could be the development of autonomous vehicles, and companies are already testing these vehicles on U.S. roads and highways. The concern with these vehicles is not driver fatigue, error, or distraction, but is instead the ability of these autonomous vehicles to navigate all driving conditions and situations safely and to avoid collisions with others on the road.

Contact The Terry Law Firm for Help After a Tennessee Truck Accident

If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a truck accident in East Tennessee, contact The Terry Law Firm to speak with one of our knowledgeable truck accident lawyers right away. We have experience with these types of claims, and we’ll be ready to help you seek the compensation you’re owed.

Our firm has offices in Greeneville and Morristown. You can have us help you understand all of your legal options when you call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.