All across the country, more seniors are choosing to remain in the workforce. For some, retirement is not as appealing as they dreamed it would be. In some other cases, seniors do not have adequate financial safeguards in place to give up their regular paychecks. Many of these seniors are truck drivers.
In fact, CBS News estimates that seniors make up 10% of the commercial vehicle driver demographic in America. As trucking companies struggle to fill positions, many are increasingly willing to hire older drivers or keep older drivers on the road. Unfortunately, this trend might put other road users at risk.
Increase in accidents among senior truckers
The news agency reviewed crash data reports and determined that senior bus and commercial truck drivers were increasingly involved in accidents. From 2013 to 2015, they experienced a 19% increase in accident involvements. In just 12 states, 6,636 accidents involved senior drivers. One potential reason for the increase is the added pressure all truck drivers face to meet strict deadlines.
Effects of age on driving ability
People become better drivers as they grow older. Maturity and experience behind the wheel contribute to this. However, when adults advance into their senior years, health deteriorates and the reverse effect takes place.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that aging tends to lead to some impairments. Seniors do not hear as well, see as clearly or react as quickly as younger drivers do. Because of this, despite experience behind the wheel, senior accident rates tend to trend so high that it falls only behind teen drivers.
Some people argue that putting seniors behind the wheel when the risk of crashes is higher is irresponsible. However, there are currently no federal laws that put age restrictions on the truck driving industry.