One of the greatest symbols of independence is being able to drive. Teenagers eagerly pursue their learner’s permit and ultimately their license, yearning the associated liberty of being a licensed driver. As people age into adulthood and eventually their senior years, maintaining that driver’s license becomes more of a focus as it is one of their last sources of freedom.
Those who remain capable will often pursue employment opportunities that allow them to continue exercising that freedom. One industry known for employing the elderly is the trucking industry. With a shortage that may reach up to 50,000 drivers by the end of 2017, large trucking companies do not hesitate to employ aging individuals. A CBS report states that roughly 10% of commercial vehicle drivers in the U.S. are 65 years of age or older, and trucking companies continue to relentlessly pursue retirees to fill the void. This presents the question: ‘Do more elderly truck drivers mean more risks?’
Dangers of Elderly Truck Drivers
While there is no specific age cut-off as to when an individual loses the ability to drive, many cognitive issues present themselves as we age. Studies show that coordination, eyesight, reaction time, and perception are among the top functions affected by old age; all of which must be sharp to operate a motor vehicle, especially a commercial truck. Many elderly truck drivers have limitations in such areas which often become apparent after an accident occurs.
A CBS News analysis highlighted a 19% increase in truck accidents from 2013-2015 involving commercial and bus drivers 70 years of age and older. More than 6,636 of these accidents occurred in just twelve states. With the American Trucking Associations predicting the void of commercial truck drivers to increase to over 174,000 by 2026, elderly truck drivers continue to get behind the wheel of 18-wheelers for the first time across the nation. These drivers may have passed the prerequisite exam to operate a commercial vehicle, but the possibility of an accident occurring only increases the longer they are on the roadways.
Drivers generally do their best to safely operate their passenger vehicles around large trucks, but there are many instances when a collision is unavoidable. If you were involved in a large truck accident, be sure to reach out to a team of attorneys dedicated to your well-being. The large truck accident attorneys at E. Orum Young Law Offices have experience handling Louisiana auto collisions. We can inspect the facts of the case and help you pursue fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our Trial Guarantee ensures that we will take your case to trial per your request.