Study Reveals Dangers of Inexperienced Truck Drivers

by Staff | January 4th, 2021

The more miles someone drives, the more competent they become behind the wheel. Though that’s true when it comes to any type of driver, it’s especially important when they’re operating a large commercial vehicle.

Large trucks are both difficult to operate and far more dangerous when involved in crashes than passenger vehicles. These vehicles are exponentially heavier than passenger vehicles, they take longer to come to a complete stop, and they are more difficult to navigate at intersections. That’s why commercial vehicles carry the potential to cause so much damage.

For the good of everyone on our roads, we should all want people operating large trucks to have very thorough training. We should also want them to have long careers behind the wheel, so the number of inexperienced truck drivers is kept to a minimum.

Unfortunately, new, insufficiently trained drivers are becoming increasingly common in the trucking industry.

What Research Shows About the Dangers of Inexperienced Truck Drivers

A study funded by the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence looked at both age and experience in relation the crash risks facing truck drivers. It found that experience was a greater predictor of being involved in a crash than a driver’s age. For example, a younger driver with more experience driving trucks would have a smaller crash risk than an older driver with less experience driving trucks.

Age was also a factor, particularly when a driver was also inexperienced. For example, an inexperienced 55-year-old was more likely to be involved in a crash than an inexperienced 25-year-old. However, inexperience increased the crash risk of truck drivers across all age groups.

Why Younger, Inexperienced Drivers Are Common in the Trucking Industry

In the past few decades, the job of a truck driver has become increasingly undesirable for many workers in the labor market. Through years of deregulation encouraged by the trucking industry, these jobs have become lower-paying and more demanding.

The turnover rates in the trucking industry tell the story of how difficult this job really is. The most recent numbers tell us that large carriers experience a turnover rate of around 96%. Surveys indicate that one of the biggest reasons drivers quit is because they’re dissatisfied with their pay.

It’s no surprise that trucking companies are having a hard time finding workers willing to do the hard job of driving long, demanding hours for inadequate pay. The trucking industry says that it is currently short about 60,000 drivers, and it is lobbying lawmakers to enact federal laws that allow younger drivers to get behind the wheel.

With few experienced drivers choosing to stay in the profession long-term, the problems posed by younger, inexperienced truckers aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. 

Why It Matters for the Rest of Us

We all share the road with big trucks, and we all face dangers when inexperienced truck drivers become the norm. Because of their size and weight, these trucks pose very serious threats to other motorists’ safety when they’re operated by someone who isn’t experienced enough to drive them safely.

Hopefully, the trucking industry will find ways to make these jobs more appealing and retain their workforces. Until then, it’s vital you know your legal rights when injured in a large truck accident.

Our Legal Team Is Here to Help

The California truck accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have years of experience handling these types of cases. Though trucking companies and their insurers will do everything they can to avoid paying injured people what they deserve, our team knows how to hold them accountable for the costs of our clients’ injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck accident, contact our firm anytime for a free consultation.