As many hit the roads this summer to go on family vacations, Connecticut drivers should be aware that more and more of the big rigs on the road today are being driven by those older than retirement age. With long trips and heavy loads, some worry that this is leading to increased trucking accidents.
As CBS News reports, an analysis of accident data in 12 states showed that the number of truck accidents has risen 19 percent for drivers over the age of 70. With about 10 percent of the commercial drivers falling into the age range of 65 or older, this is of great concern. Due to a shortage of drivers in the industry, some trucking companies are specifically recruiting drivers who are old enough to retire but do not have the income available to do so. This has critics worrying that many of the drivers on the road do not have the stamina it takes to make the long trips, but anti-discrimination laws make it possible for the trucking companies to make these hires. Aviation, on the other hand, does not allow pilots to continue flying commercial flights past the age of 65.
Changing these regulations face extreme push back from the trucking industry. As the Huffington Post explains, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration learned how hard the industry resists change after it recommended screening obese drivers for sleep apnea, which left untreated can cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel. Even after the FMCSA withdrew its proposal due to the anger of the industry, trucking lobbyists successfully called for Congress to write a law forcing the FMCSA to follow a much more complicated procedure in order to make any changes to driver screenings.