Are Teens Allowed to Operate Commercial Trucks?

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 12:00pm by

New legislation that would lower the driving age to 18-years-old for some commercial truck drivers has met significant backlash from safety experts. Photo of courtroom

According to the Associated Press, through the lobbying efforts of the American Trucking Associations, a bill was introduced recently in the Senate that aims to lower trucking ages. The group estimates that there is a shortage of drivers of roughly 35,000 to 40,000 nationally and that trucking companies are going to need to recruit about 100,000 drivers per year over the next decade to keep up with the country’s freight needs.

Safety advocates, however, said that any laws lowering commercial age guidelines could result in more fatal truck accidents. The AP reported that in 2013, “all drivers ages 18-20 had a fatal crash involvement rate, per 100,000 licensed drivers, that was 66 percent higher than drivers who were age 21 years or older.”

Federal laws currently require that commercial truck drivers be at least 21 in order to drive over state lines. The new legislation, backed by some Republicans, would allow states to join in “compacts” to drop the age threshold to 18-years-old for certain interstate trips, according to the AP.

Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said that lowering the age limit for truck drivers could result in catastrophe.

“The combination of inexperience, high-risk driving and large trucks [could] cause unbelievable devastation,” Gillan said, according to the AP.

Contacting an Attorney Following an Atlantic City Truck Accident

Rightfully, many experts are concerned about laws that would allow inexperienced drivers to operate commercial trucks. Some tractor-trailers weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and some truck drivers work up to 82 hours a week, according to the AP.

It is scary to think about inexperienced drivers possibly operating such large vehicles. Truck accidents often result in death and serious personal injuries like broken bones, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries due to the violent nature of collisions.

We will update you if this bill moves forward, as it has just been introduced in the Senate and still needs congressional support. If you are ever injured or your loved one is killed in a truck accident, you should contact our Atlantic City injury attorneys.

We can determine if a truck driver’s negligence and/or inexperience played a role in your collision. To see how we have helped truck accident victims, visit our verdicts and settlements page.

Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. – Atlantic City Injury Attorneys



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