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Nearly Two-Thirds of Truckers Can’t Afford to Retire

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As is the case with many Americans, many truckers have not saved enough to retire. Nearly two-thirds of truckers, 63 percent, said they earn $50-100,000 per year, and 12 percent said they earned more than $100,000 annually. Yet, the most significant reason for many older truckers who say they might stay in the cab a little longer is simple; they can’t afford to quit. Likewise, nearly 64 percent said they had not saved enough for retirement.

Unexpected Expenses Keep Truckers in Their Seats

Despite earning upwards of $75-100,000, many truckers, particularly owner-operators, have unexpected expenses that cut into their savings. Many owner-operators fail to get adequate health insurance for themselves and their families. Some are shocked and caught unprepared for a $400 or $500 traffic ticket.

Hospital stays cost an average of $3,950 per day, with the average hospital stay costing a median $15,750. Plus, an overweight truck can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Imagine getting hit with an overweight truck ticket just after your kid comes out of the hospital from an appendectomy. A conviction on a cellphone ticket could cost a trucker $2,750.

Forty-five percent of Americans have no significant savings, while only around 20 percent have $10,000 or more saved. Once again, 45 percent of trucker owner-operators say they will continue working because they need the money.

According to a Truckers News survey, about 58 percent of truckers said they have no retirement plan where they work. However, 85 percent of owner-operators said they did not have one.

What You Can Do about Those Unexpected Expenses

Well, like it or not, owner-operators can buy health insurance for themselves and their families. It’s just a crapshoot if you don’t. Chances are, someone in your family will be hospitalized during the coming year, especially if you have children. You might think you are saving money by not buying one during open season, but when your kid needs a $20,000 emergency appendectomy it is too late to get it.

Avoid traffic tickets. Easier said than done, right? Much like health insurance, when you pick up a load, you must swing by a local private weighing station and pay the $15 or $20 to get it weighed. It’s much better to pay $15 or $20, than $1,500 or $2,000 — you could even pay up to $20,000.

However, no matter how careful you are, some traffic tickets are going to catch you off-guard. Once again, just like that health insurance, when you get a traffic ticket, you must challenge that ticket with a traffic attorney. For company drivers, one conviction on a moving violation could get you terminated. Why do you think there is a 94 percent turnover rate in trucking even with a shortage of 60,000 truckers? Some call it a zero-tolerance policy.

But even owner-operators should hire a traffic attorney to resolve their tickets so that they can get back out there on the road and continue making money. Statistics show, more tickets are dismissed or downgraded to a no-point violation when accompanied by an attorney.

In the Woodland Area, You Can Count on Bigger & Harman, APC to Resolve Your Ticket

Many truckers on I-5 in Woodland in Yolo County get tickets for speeding while Class C drivers fly past at 85 or 90. This stretch of road heading into Northern California is an area where many truckers open it up a little thinking there is less traffic and fewer law enforcement officers. Whatever your traffic ticket needs or DMV Hearing, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, we can help. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We accept emails, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The Trucker News article, Survey finds many truckers say they can’t afford to retire