In the past three years, supply chain issues prompted U.S. trucking companies to hire more drivers since they were short some 80,000. The trucking industry got a boost with the November 2021 enactment of a bipartisan infrastructure law that, in part, provides for workforce development within the trucking industry.
But the applause also brings some pause for some safety advocates. The new law provides training for 3,000 drivers who are between the ages of 18 and 20. Previously, to operate a big-rig truck, drivers had to be 21. Now, concerns mount over young and inexperienced drivers hauling cargo from coast to coast.
Speeding, poor turning maneuvers and distraction
With some inexperienced drivers on the road, there are bound to be mistakes made, crashes that occur and more injuries and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 people died and an estimated 146,930 people were injured in large truck crashes in 2020.
Here is a list of mistakes made by inexperienced drivers of big-rig trucks:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Turns made too sharply or too quickly
- Inadequate surveillance, namely of their blind spots
- Lack of familiarity with the region’s roadways
- Ignoring traffic signs
- Failing to adjust to traffic disruptions such as crashes and detours
- Distracted driving
- Being overconfident
Any of these actions may lead to tragedy. A collision with a large truck does not favor smaller vehicles such as cars, pickups and SUVs that must share the road with these several-ton vehicles.
Stay alert and stay safe
Every time drivers encounter a large truck on the road, they must use great caution while always being alert. As the trucking industry plays catch up and hires more truck drivers, every other driver should remain alert to any potential mistakes made by them.