On October 18, 2016,
CBS News published the results of a five-month investigation into a possible link
between the number of
trucking accidents on the nation's highways and the increase in older commercial truck drivers.
In the aviation industry, the mandatory retirement age of 60 was raised
to 65 in 2007. However, in the trucking industry, the trend is quite the
opposite. Those 65 years-of-age and older already account for 10 percent
of U.S. truckers.
Companies trying to cope with chronic driver shortages are aggressively
seeking older CDL drivers. Many retirees have been especially impacted
by the economic downturn in recent years, so some are quite receptive
to the idea of becoming a truck driver. Trucking associations and trucking
firms defend the practice in part by asserting that the majority of truck-related
crashes are actually caused by other motorists operating passenger vehicles.
Debate Over Skill Tests
Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) has looked into the issue of aging drivers and safety, there appear
to be no immediate plans to add driver skill tests or other requirements
for such drivers to meet. Some believe that age discrimination laws tend
to impede efforts to ensure that older CDL drivers have the reaction times
and requisite skills necessary to operate 18-wheelers. The safe operation
of a semi tractor-trailer in adverse weather, in construction zones and
around distracted drivers often taxes even the most highly skilled truckers.
Increased Number of Crashes
In Montana, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of truck accidents
involving CDL drivers in their 70s. In 2013, those ages 70 to 74 were
involved in four accidents. This number increased to 19 in 2014 - almost
a fourfold increase in one year. In 2015, the number increased even further to 23.
A similar trend occurred among those ages 75 to 79 years-of-age. This age
group accounted for two truck accidents in 2013, nine in 2014 and 10 in
2015. Overall, truckers ages 70 years or older accounted for 10 truck
accidents in 2013 and 35 in 2015, a 350-percent increase.
If you or a family member is in a truck crash in the Bakken region, it
is possible to speak with a truck accident attorney at no cost to you.
To learn more about our legal services, please