The Trump administration is poised to allow some younger truck drivers to operate commercial trucks across state lines, but this could turn out to be a mistake that can potentially cost hundreds of lives every year.
The administration of President Donald Trump is advancing a program that would drop the age requirements to drive commercial trucks cross-country from 21 to 18 in an attempt to ease a trucker shortage in the United States.
The U.S. is experiencing a massive truckers shortage, which is estimated to hit more than 60,000 later this year. Trucking companies’ attempts to attract more people to operate commercial trucks by raising salaries have had little to no effect on eliminating the shortage.
The trucker shortage is causing a tremendous loss of profit to many American companies that deliver goods across the nation, as it results in delayed deliveries and higher prices.
Drivers as young as 18 will be allowed to drive commercial trucks
Fact: Currently, trucks kill over 4,000 Americans every year, while more than 70,000 others sustain injuries in truck accidents.
“But these numbers could potentially spike if the Trump administration allows some drivers as young as 18 to drive large trucks across state lines,” warns our Los Angeles truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg.
Let’s get into the specifics of what the federal government is proposing in order to eliminate the trucker shortage in California and all across the U.S. When a pilot program, launched by the Department of Transportation, becomes available across the nation, truck drivers with military experience, including members of the National Guard, will be allowed to drive commercial vehicles in interstate commerce from the age of 18.
Currently, the federal government requires all truck drivers to be at least 21 to be allowed to drive commercial trucks across state lines. Our experienced truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles, who reviewed the details of the pilot program, explains that the government would allow truck drivers to operate commercial vehicles and transport cargo cross-country only if they have sufficient training and experience in certain military occupational specialties.
Thus, 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds, and 20-year-olds would now be allowed to drive commercial trucks across the country if they pass the required tests.
Why lowering the age requirement could be a mistake
The decision to lower the age requirements for truckers who operate trucks to haul cargo across state lines has been met with criticism from safety advocacy groups. But why?
Statistics show that the younger the truck driver, the more dangerous he or she is on the road. That is why teenage drivers are considered the most dangerous in the U.S. In fact, teenage truck drivers are nearly three times more likely to get involved in a fatal accident compared to older drivers.
Thus, the pilot program that allows truck drivers to operate commercial vehicles from the age of 18 could result in more truck accidents in Los Angeles, Riverside, Los Angeles, and all across California.
“Teen truck drivers are more likely to violate traffic laws, disregard trucking regulations, and engage in risky and dangerous behaviors on the road,” says our Los Angeles truck crash attorney. Statistics show the younger the truck driver, the more likely he/she is to:
- Not use seat belts;
- Violate federal hours of service regulations and drive for more hours without breaks than allowed by federal law;
- Drive at speeds above the allowable limit;
- Engage in distracted driving;
- Overreact in situations when the driver must remain calm;
- Drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a teen truck driver, get a free consultation from our experienced lawyers to find out your options for recovering compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg by calling 310-997-0904 or completing this contact form.