A nationwide shortage in commercial truck drivers has caused many trucking companies to seek out retirees to drive. Reports find that truck drivers are working well past the standard retirement age of 65 because of this. Drivers older than 65 currently make up about 10 percent of all commercial drivers in the US.
CBS News did a 5-month investigation on the potential problems this may cause for road safety. Their analysis of crash records showed a 19 percent increase in commercial bus and truck wrecks where the drivers were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s from 2013-2015.
Everybody realizes that reflexes and stamina decrease with age. But many state and federal regulators have struggled with laws governing age discrimination. In the 90s an initiative was pushed to start regular skills tests for older drivers, but a labor shortage at the time complicated these efforts. Officials at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, are currently studying the increase in elderly drivers. According to deputy administrator Daphne Jefferson, they are “not quite at the point yet” to make a firm decision on age-based rules for drivers.
For a similar situation, one need only look to the aviation industry, which institutes a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all pilots, despite a current shortage of pilots. When reached for comment, an independent truck driver association stated that although there were more drivers over age 70, “the greater majority of truck-related crashes are not caused by truckers, but are instead caused by other drivers.”
More can be read about CBS’s study here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trucking-semi-industry-recruiting-retirees-commercial-drivers-accidents/