Recent reports indicate1 that the trucking industry currently does not have enough drivers to handle the workload placed on trucking companies. Despite the driver shortage, goods still need to be transported across the country on a regular basis, so trucking companies are scrambling to find new drivers.
The driver shortage also comes at a time when many baby boomers are reaching or have reached retirement age. However, with the economy in recent years, people may not be as prepared for retirement as they once were and may be looking for ways to keep earning income. This combination of circumstances has led to trucking companies recruiting and hiring more truck drivers who are age 65 and older.
The Risks of Older Drivers
Age does not affect everyone in the same way. Some people are able to safely operate their vehicles well into their advanced years with little to no challenges. However, a significant number of elderly adults may start developing physical or mental conditions that make it risky for them to be on the roads. Some conditions that can affect the ability of older adults to drive safely can include:
Arthritis, as it can make it difficult to keep a grip on the wheel;
Muscle weakness, which can cause issues when moving from pedal to pedal or when holding down the brake;
-Hearing or vision loss to the degree a driver may not be adequately aware of their surroundings;
-Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other degenerative mental conditions that can cause confusion and lack of focus;
-Heart disease, which could cause a heart attack or another emergency medical event behind the wheel.
While the above are dangerous in any type of vehicle, they can be especially risky behind the wheel of a large commercial truck. Semi-trucks are significantly more difficult to maneuver and control than smaller cars and require more agility and focus. For these reasons, older drivers may struggle to control their trucks. Companies should be careful when hiring elderly drivers and should ensure they fully comply with health requirements set out by the FMCSA.2
Call for a Consultation with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have been in a truck accident because of an older driver or because a driver was negligent in any manner, you should not wait to call McEwen & Kestner, PLLC – The Trucking Lawyers. Our team helps truck accident victims in Minnesota and around the U.S., so please call today at 800-732-3070 for a free consultation.