According to the Associated Press, members of Congress are pushing for legislation that would allow drivers as young as 18 to operate commercial trucks over the country’s interstates.
Currently, drivers must be at least 21 before they can operate commercial trucks across state lines. However, a bill introduced by some Republican senators would allow states to join in allowing for truck drivers as young as 18 to operate on their interstates. The AP reported that there is no limit to states that could form groups, also known as “compacts”.
Special interest groups, including the American Trucking Associations, favor the age drop, saying that there is currently a shortage of roughly 35,000 to 40,000 truck drivers in the country. Additionally, the organization says that transportation companies will need about 100,000 new drivers per year over the next decade to keep up with interstate freight demands.
The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Republican leaders earlier this month and still needs approval from its members. It would restrict teens from hauling hazardous materials or operating “special configurations,” or trucks that are oversized. It would also allow individual states to impose their own restrictions.
Would Lowering the Truck Driver Age Limit Result in More Accidents?
Many safety advocates oppose the proposed legislation. Jackie Gillan, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said that lowering the age limit for commercial truck drivers is a “catastrophe waiting to happen.”
Gillan told the AP that many commercial trucks weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and drivers often work much more than 40 hours per week. “The combination of inexperience, high-risk driving and large trucks [could] cause unbelievable devastation,” Gillan said, according to the AP.
It should be noted that in 2013, teens ages 18-20 had a fatal crash rate per 100,000 drivers that was about 66 percent higher than drivers who were age 21 years or older.
Contacting an Attorney Following a New Jersey Truck Accident
Our Middlesex County injury lawyers are concerned about this legislation, as we have fears that it could lead to more truck accidents.
Crashes involving commercial tractor-trailers are often violent due to the weight and size of the vehicles. Aside from death, accidents can result in devastating personal injuries for victims like brain and spinal cord injuries.
If you have been hurt or your loved one has been killed in a truck accident, contact our Middlesex County injury attorneys. Our firm has been representing truck accident victims for several decades, providing them with unparalleled legal guidance.
Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Injury Attorneys