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Passing the truck: Long hours and older drivers

California ports see a huge amount of the country's import goods, which means commercial trucking is a big business in the Golden State. These large vehicles are heavy and travel at high speeds, which makes any accident involving a truck a serious concern. New reports are shedding a light on hazards in the trucking industry that could affect the safety of our roads.

A new report from USA Today states that port truckers, who make short trips from the ports to warehouses or train yards, are often being forced to work extremely long hours by the companies who own the leases on their trucks. Drivers are little more than indentured servants who fear that one wrong move could lose the thousands of dollars they have paid into their truck in an effort to buy it from the company. This exploitation is also a danger to the public at large, as many drivers spoke about falsifying driving records, sometimes being on the road up to 20 hours in one day. 

Trucking companies are also recruiting much older drivers than normal due to a driver shortage. As CBS News reports, a new focus on finding drivers over the age of 65 has led to about 10 percent of the driver population now being older than the retirement age. In an analysis of crash reports for 12 states, there has been a 19 percent increase in crashes involving drivers over the age of 70--some of the accidents involved drivers in their 90s. In 2015, California had 81 of these crashes, including 12 that had drivers who were between 80 and 89.

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