Do you want 18-year-olds driving 18-wheelers?
Today’s trucking industry is facing a driver shortage. According to the trucking lobbying organization, American Trucking Associations, U.S. trucking companies will need to hire 89,000 new drivers a year for the next 10 years to keep up with demand.
One solution that trucking companies are pushing is to lower the legal age limit for over-the-road truckers to 18 years old. The current minimum age for interstate truck drivers is 21.
The limit would be lowered to only 18-year-olds with military experience driving large trucks but is still fraught with threats to other drivers. Yet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – the federal agency that oversees commercial trucking safety – recently proposed a three-year test program allowing 18-year-olds to drive big rigs across state lines.
Pilot Program for Teen-aged Truck Drivers
The proposal calls for a pilot program involving over-the-road truckers 18 to 20 years old. They will be monitored for a three-year period. The group of young truck drivers will be compared against a control group of current truckers over those three years.
But here’s what we know about teen-aged drivers. They have a much higher crash rate than drivers over the age of 20. They are more likely to be involved in speeding related fatal crashes than other age groups. They often text and drive.
And, according to the AAA Foundation for Safety, 30 percent of all those killed in accidents involving a teen driver are in another vehicle. Imagine what could happen when teen drivers are barreling down the highway in a vehicle weighing as much as 80,000 pounds?
Driver Error Main Cause of Fatal Trucking Accidents
The main cause of fatal trucking accidents is driver error. Truck drivers distracted by a cell phone are dangerous. Truckers who go too fast for road, weather and traffic conditions are a threat to other drivers.
Employing younger truckers, then, could be trucking companies putting profits before people. This happens far too often. When truck drivers or their employers act irresponsibly in order to save time or money, they can cause catastrophic accidents
If you were seriously injured or had a family member killed in a crash involving a large commercial truck, a trucking accident attorney can investigate on your behalf, determine who is responsible, and hold them accountable.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.