Why would the federal government decide to lower the age necessary to drive a commercial truck from 21 to 18? Sometimes, pressing economic needs override risks associated with safety. Perhaps safety advocates are overly concerned about the dangers, but statistics related to teen drivers provide enough credible data to give the advocates the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, when younger truck drivers take to Connecticut highways, a spike in accidents won’t happen.
Changes to the trucking industry arrive
While an 18-year-old can procure a commercial driving license in most states, federal law prohibits interstate travel for CDL truck drivers under age 21. Contrary to what some believe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration supports lowering the age limit. A new pilot program established when President Joe Biden signed infrastructure legislation into law makes long-haul interstate trucking available to a select number of younger drivers.
The reason for the pilot program and the desire to lower the age seems logical based on the current trucking industry landscape. Numerous factors led to a shortage of drivers, reflecting 80,000 fewer truckers. Such a shortage delivered a devastating impact on the supply chain, among other problems. Does lowering the age range open doors to other potential problems, though?
Teen truckers and dangers on the roads
A truck accident could happen for many reasons, including a driver’s disregard for safety. Speeding stands as a top reason why truck accidents occur, along with driving under the influence or when fatigued. Although laws exist about drunk driving and regulations mandate truck driver breaks, some experienced drivers ignore them.
Statistics show that teen drivers present greater risks for accidents than adults. Considering how devastating a truck accident might be, it is understandable why some worry about 18 and 19-year-olds taking a tractor-trailer on a 1,000-mile trip.
When negligence leads to an accident, the victims may sue. Hopefully, long-haul teen truckers won’t contribute to as many accidents as some fear.