U.S. highways are filled with millions of several ton 18-wheelers, hauling freight from suppliers to businesses and providing the important conduit between the two. But a labor shortage has the trucking industry seeking another 80,000 truck drivers.
So how does the government respond? Lawmakers created a new program within the federal infrastructure plan that would allow qualified 18-year-olds to drive these large trucks. Such a move may provide the much-needed truck drivers sought by the industry. However, it also may lead to an abundance of inexperienced truck drivers who may make mistakes.
Speeding and unfamiliarity
Granted, it is not just young truck drivers who are inexperienced. But as the trucking industry casts a wider net to recruit more drivers, some companies may take short cuts in hiring them. Behind-the-wheel experience is crucial in maneuvering these colossal vehicles that can cause serious and fatal injuries.
Here are some of the ways in which an inexperienced truck driver may cause harm to other motorists:
- Making turns that are too sharp or too quick
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Ignoring traffic signs
- Unacquainted and unfamiliar with the region and its roadways
- Failing to make driving adjustments when traffic disruptions arise
People learn from their mistakes. However, a mistake made on the road by an inexperienced truck driver may lead to tragedy and life-changing situations for other drivers.
Screening, training and responsibility
Truck driving companies must carefully screen prospective drivers and provide the right amount of training. They cannot rush into employment decisions because they need drivers. Also, these drivers must understand the responsibility they have in operating such large trucks.