Aging truckers sometimes create dangerous driving conditions and increased accident risks due to physical impairments, cognitive dysfunctions, and fatigue.
Aging Truckers Pose Driving Dangers
Older truck drivers face physical and mental challenges that often create dangerous driving conditions for other motorists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), aging commercial truckers over age 65 contribute to a large percentage of trucking accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. Between 2013 and 2015, there were more than 6,600 reported trucking accidents involving older truck drivers in the U.S. In the last three years, crash data from CBS News shows a 19 percent rise in accidents involving commercial truck drivers in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s.
America’s trucking industry is facing a severe driver shortage, so trucking companies are aggressively recruiting retired truckers. Currently, truckers over 65 years of age make up at least 10 percent of commercial truck drivers in the United States. This recruitment trend is creating dangers on the road and increasing risks for trucking accidents and injuries.
Driving requires physical agility and good coordination to safely operate a vehicle. Without it, even simple tasks like pressing the gas pedal or brake pedal, turning the steering wheel, operating lights and turn signals, and driving speed can be impacted. Older truck drivers who suffer from muscle weakness, joint problems, and chronic pain are at higher risks for loss of control. Hearing and vision loss may also impact safe driving.
Driving requires attention to the road and performing numerous tasks at one time. Older drivers who have cognitive disorders may face struggles with safe driving skills that are essential for traffic signals, lane changes, yielding and passing, traffic flow, driving speed, and judging distance. Elderly truck drivers may also experience cognitive disorders that impact information and memory retention.
Commercial truckers drive long distances and spend many hours on the road. Even young drivers run the risk of fatigue and sleep deprivation. Drivers over the age of 65 may suffer excessive fatigue and/or drowsiness due to age-related illnesses, diseases, and prescription medications. While some older truck drivers may recognize their limits and get appropriate sleep, others may ignore the warning signs of sleep deprivation to meet delivery schedule deadlines and paycheck requirements. Drowsiness and fatigue is a common cause of trucking accidents seen by truck accident lawyers in Henderson.