Over the last decade and a half, the trucking industry has faced hurdles with the continuing shortage of drivers. The shortage of drivers today is over 50,000, according to the ATA. There are a number of reasons for this shortage. The economy is tight, drivers are aging and there are fewer qualified applicants. How does this affect North Carolina roads? It may be surprising to note that the lack of truckers could lead to roads that are more dangerous.
When it comes to the hiring process of truckers, the carriers have to remain diligent and selective. In times of shortage, companies may perform negligent hiring practices. Commercial drivers have strict regulations. Federal law, according to NCDOT, requires truckers to pass a knowledge test and a driver license skills test.
To become an interstate commercial driver, once a person has a permit, he or she must be:
- At least 21 years old
- Licensed with a Class A, B or C driver license
- Accompanied by a licensed CDL operator
Drivers must also prove that they have a clear driving record to become commercial drivers. They must certify that they only have one driver license and that they do not have a suspended or revoked license. On highways, commercial trucks are more dangerous than passenger vehicles. The sheer size of a big rig, compared to most vehicles creates a dangerous situation where most accidents involve serious injuries.
If a company is lax on its hiring practices, there could be inexperienced and unqualified drivers who are more likely to be in an accident. Commercial drivers must pass the skills and knowledge test, while also being in good health, with no physical ailments that would prevent driving.