Supply chain demands, the trucking industry & your safety | Allen and Allen

Supply chain demands, the trucking industry & your safety

We have all felt the impacts of COVID-19 shortages in our daily lives. Whether you ran out of toilet paper in 2020 or noticed an increase in the prices of goods like gasoline, lumber, or a new car, there is no question that our world has changed in ways that most of us did not anticipate.

woman wearing mask at night during covid-19 pandemic

In addition to the shortage of goods, the United States is currently experiencing a tight job market; the most significant labor shortage since the 1950s. This is also due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supply chain and labor shortages are also significantly affecting the trucking industry, and your safety on the road may be at risk.

Lately, materials essential to the trucking industry, such as rubber and steel, have become either totally inaccessible, or the prices have risen to a level that has slowed down the manufacturing of new trucks. In many cases, it has prevented existing trucks from receiving necessary and important maintenance.

truck driver talking

And yet, while the production of goods slowed down during the pandemic, consumer demand has rebounded, and in order to transport the goods to the people who need them, we need trucks on the road and truckers to drive them.

As consumer demand increased, the trucking workforce decreased. The trucking industry has been particularly hard-hit by labor shortages.

What is causing a decline in trucking labor shortages?

There are many reasons why we are seeing a decline, such as:

  • Low wages
  • Unflexible lifestyle
  • Work-life balance
  • Stricter regulations
  • An aging workforce not being replenished by younger workers.

What does this mean for the traveling public? It is truly a perfect storm for dangerous driving conditions.

an empty, closed trucking weigh station

How are labor and supply shortages making the roads more dangerous?

  • Older cars on the road: There is no dispute that COVID-19 has caused an increased number of older vehicles to stay on the road. That is certainly true for tractor-trailers, as the ability to manufacture new trucks has been hampered.
  • Lack of maintenance: The older trucks on the road may not be getting the necessary maintenance, due to supply shortages on things like rubber, which is essential for new and safer tires.
  • Weigh Station Closures: Some states, like South Carolina, are seeing a higher-than-average number of weigh stations being closed due to staffing issues. As you may know, a weigh station is a roadside feature, often on the side of the highway, where commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers are required to stop. They are supposed to be inspected to ensure that they’re in compliance with various safety requirements, which protects the traveling public from overweight and otherwise unsafe vehicles.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a growing potential for danger on our highways. Drivers will need to be extra-vigilant these days, considering the aging and overworked trucking workforce, and potentially older and less-safe trucks on our highways. Always be vigilant when driving in or around tractor-trailers: increase your driving distance behind a tractor-trailer, stay out of blind spots, and give truckers plenty of room – especially when changing lanes.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, the truck accident attorneys at Allen & Allen are here to help. Call us for a free consultation at 1-866-388-1307.