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Proposal for younger truckers sparks debate

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2020 | Auto, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents

If you drive in New York, you may be particularly concerned about the threat posed by truck accidents. After all, the weight and volume of a typical commercial truck puts other vehicles at a significant disadvantage should a crash occur. Drivers and passengers in passenger cars are far more likely to suffer serious injuries and even fatalities. While truck drivers are usually highly trained, they may also work long hours. Truck driver fatigue is one major accident risk alongside poorly maintained vehicles and distracted driving.

Should younger truckers take the wheel?

Some trucking industry representatives claim that there is a shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers, especially on interstate routes. Current law prohibits drivers under 21 from taking these interstate routes, even though 49 states allow 18-year-olds to receive and use a commercial driver’s license for intrastate travel. These trucking industry representatives are urging Congress to adopt reform legislation that would create a new apprenticeship program for drivers under 21. They would be able to complete 400 hours of probationary work, including 240 hours of accompanied driving time, before taking the wheel on interstate truck journeys.

Safety concerns raised by advocates

Advocates of the change claim that there is a shortage of qualified truck drivers. Others, however, say that there are already enough drivers and that the industry simply wants to drive down wages. Some safety advocates warn that increasing the number of young truck drivers could lead to more commercial vehicle accidents. They say that truck crashes are more common among 18- to 20-year-old truck drivers in states that allow younger truckers to take the wheel. They also noted that younger drivers are more inexperienced overall, which could lead to confusion and questionable decision-making, all of which pose a greater threat due to the mass of commercial vehicles.

No matter the age of a negligent driver, a truck crash can lead to severe injuries and permanent disabilities accompanied by expensive medical bills and other costs. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, a personal injury attorney may help you seek compensation for your losses.