Senate Bill Raises Safety Concerns Regarding Young Truck Drivers

Should drivers younger than 21 be allowed to drive large commercial motor vehicles on interstate trips? Advocates of a proposed Senate bill say they should, but others are citing disturbing accident statistics that show drivers who are 18 to 20 years old are at a much higher risk of crashing, according to a recent article in the National Safety Council’s Safety & Health Magazine.

Currently, 49 states allow people as young as 18 to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for intrastate driving. But these young drivers are not allowed to haul across state lines. If the proposed bill passes, it could open the door for drivers younger than 21 to be sent on long hauls in unfamiliar territory, some fear.

“Nobody that’s in their first job gets the best routes,” Truck Safety Coalition President Dawn King warned members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Transportation and Safety Subcommittee during a recent hearing on the bill. “And so we’re concerned that the younger drivers will end up on the longer routes that will take them into states they’re not familiar with, so we really believe that the crash data that’s within the states needs to be studied first.”


What the New Bill Proposes

The new bill would create an apprenticeship program for truck drivers who are below the age of 21. Young truck drivers would complete two probationary periods that would total 400 hours. Of those hours, the younger drivers would be required to drive a commercial truck for at least 240 hours with a driver 21 years of age or older accompanying them.

The hope, if the bill passes, is that it will resolve some of the struggles within the trucking industry, proponents say. By relaxing the age limits at the federal level, it would bring more consistency to the industry and allow more truckers to remain on the road.

However, opponents of the bill argue the government is only considering the change because of the perceived trucker shortage. They say more research needs to be done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on accidents involving young truck drivers on intrastate routes.


Our Lawyers Stand Strong for Victims of Truck Accidents

At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we are committed to making the roadways safer for everyone. Our lawyers have seen the devastation caused by inexperienced, improperly trained, and negligent truck drivers. We know how catastrophic injuries from serious truck accidents can forever change the lives of families.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash, please contact our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys today. We know how costly these injuries are to treat, and we can help you demand the total compensation you need to make a full recovery.

Call us today or contact us online to schedule your free consultation to learn more about how our knowledgeable trial attorneys can help with your case.