The trucking industry and other related parties are promoting a bill that would reduce the minimum age for commercial truck drivers to operate in the United States. There are risks that a proposal like this, if rushed into, could possibly increase the risk of accidents involving tractor- trailers and semi rigs.
Trucking activity across the metro Atlanta region has spiked since last year, when there was a surge in the volume of online deliveries and shipping needs. While the trucking industry serves a vital function, having more numbers of trucks on our highways will only increase the risks of commercial truck accidents.
The trucking industry says that a shortage of licensed drivers is a major challenge currently facing the sector. To deal with this shortage, the industry is calling for the minimum truck driver age, which currently stands at 20, to be lowered to 18, to drive a truck as part of interstate commerce. The DRIVE Safe Act, is currently pending in Congress and is aimed at allowing interstate driving for commercial truck drivers between 18 and 21.
While the shortage of truck drivers is possibly a serious challenge, it is also important to bear in mind the fact that younger drivers tend to be the most dangerous drivers and have the highest risk of accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorists between the age of 16 and 19 are some of the most at-risk drivers, even when they are operating smaller passenger motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 4,000 of the fatal motor vehicle accidents recorded in 2018 involved a driver between the age of 16 and 19. The risks of drivers like these being allowed to drive massive commercial tractor trailers which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds needs to be assessed and evaluated thoroughly before any lowering of the age limits is allowed to happen.
Younger drivers may simply lack the experience needed to avoid accident situations. Good driving is very often dependent on a person’s experience and maturity levels. Experience plays a huge part in equipping the driver with the kind of skills necessary to avoid risky situations or minimize accident risks. With the challenges that handling a large commercial truck pose, it is imperative that lawmakers thoroughly analyze the risk factors involved in allowing younger drivers to handle large vehicles, before implementing any kind of changes to the existing age guidelines.
The Atlanta trucking accident attorneys at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have been injured in accidents involving commercial trucks in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a truck accident, talk to an attorney at our firm, and discuss your legal options to a claim for compensation. You may qualify for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other forms of compensation. Filing a truck accident claim, however, can be complicated and will involve filing claims not just against the driver, but also the trucking company, shippers, truck repair and maintenance companies as well as other parties that may be liable for damages. Talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your legal rights to a claim. Initial consultations are free.