LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas. In order to address a serious driver shortage, the trucking industry has increasingly moved to recruit older drivers and retirees. According to CBS News, drivers over age 65 make up 10 percent of commercial drivers. This increase in the use of older drivers has some wondering whether proper screening and safety measures are in place to protect the public and drivers as the workforce ages.
According to CBS News, there has been a 19 percent increase in the number of truck accidents involving drivers in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Between the years of 2013 and 2015, there were over 6,636 accidents involving elderly drivers. Truck drivers are required to pass health and medical tests before they can work for a commercial truck company, but these tests may not be required frequently enough to detect certain illnesses. Illnesses like heart disease or dementia can progress rapidly and their onset can sometimes be difficult to detect. More frequent medical testing of older drivers may be able to make roadways safer.
Of course, truck companies need to abide by age discrimination laws. State and federal agencies will likely have to balance the rights of aged workers to work in the industry and the need for safety as the driving population ages. Some wonder whether the trucking industry would benefit from retirement age requirements. For instance, the aviation industry requires pilots to retire at age 65.
According to Monster.com, the trend may not be stopping any time soon. With the current economy, more older Americans are taking on post-retirement jobs. For retirees who may have dreamed of hitting the road in an RV, trucking is a good compromise. Some couples even have taken to the road together, shipping goods commercially while traveling the country. Older couples may have the added benefit of alternating shifts, thus allowing them to stay on the road for longer periods while still abiding by federal hours of service requirements.
The Law Offices of Sheila Campbell are truck accident lawyers in Little Rock, Arkansas who are looking closely at the new trend. As more older drivers hit the road, state and federal law will likely have to catch up to ensure that the public remains safe. Until then, victims of truck accidents have the right to seek compensation from owner operators, their companies, and from shipping companies if they are hurt in a truck accident involving an older driver. A truck accident attorney can review the truck company’s hiring practices and ask key questions:
Were drivers properly vetted and trained? Were drivers’ health test accurate and up to date. Were drivers pressured to deliver good in unreasonable timeframes? These questions can reveal practices that local and national trucking companies use, raising awareness about dangerous practices, and protecting victims by helping them get the compensation they may deserve from negligent parties.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident, you may only have a limited amount of time to take legal action. Visit the truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheila Campbell today.