Will expected trucking industry growth cause more Ohio truck accidents?

Trucking industry groups expect growth and driver shortages over the next decade, which could leave other drivers facing a higher risk of truck accidents.

Large truck crashes happen with an alarming frequency in Cleveland and other parts of Ohio. In 2014, at least 21,000 of these crashes occurred in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. These accidents claimed the lives of 125 other motorists, and they caused additional injuries to 4,444 people. Tragically, these large truck accidents, along with the associated injuries and deaths, may only increase in coming years due to trucking industry growth.

Projected growth and challenges

The American Trucking Association anticipates that the size of the trucking industry and the overall amount of freight shipped will increase markedly in the next decade. According to CNBC, the ATA expects the amount of freight tonnage shipped in 2025 to be at least 20 percent greater than the amount shipped in 2013. Besides resulting in more trucks on the road, these changes could lead to greater demand for drivers. The same source states that such growth would require the hiring of 100,000 new truck drivers per year.

This driver shortage has already started occurring. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ATA estimates that the trucking industry presently lacks about 40,000 drivers. The New York Times notes that the total shortage could reach 200,000 drivers by the end of the next decade. Unfortunately, as the shortage becomes worse, it may have the following unwanted effects on roadway safety:

  • Pressuring drivers to work more frequent or lengthy shifts, which could raise the risk of drowsy driving accidents
  • Encouraging drivers to increase productivity through unsafe measures, such as speeding or skipping mandatory rest periods
  • Necessitating the hiring of more inexperienced drivers, who might be less capable of driving safely and avoiding accidents

The number of truck accidents occurring across the U.S. has already shown an alarming increase in recent years. According to CNBC, from 2009 to 2012, fatal truck crashes rose 18 percent. By 2012, large truck crashes were claiming 10 lives and causing 284 injuries on a daily basis. This trend may only continue as the industry grows and as driver shortages exacerbate existing safety issues.

Taking action after accidents

Sadly, in many cases, there may be little that Ohio drivers can do to protect themselves against large truck crashes. In 2014, more than half of the truck crashes that occurred in the state were attributed to errors on the part of truck drivers. Fortunately, when these needless truck accidents cause harm to innocent motorists, recourse may be available.

If a truck driver's negligence directly caused an accident and any related injuries, the victims may be entitled to various forms of compensation. To obtain additional information about these legal remedies or the claim process, victims should consider meeting with a truck accident attorney.