As an increasing number of teenage truck drivers take to the roads in high-speed traffic, countless experts are voicing safety concerns. Many new drivers grow up with the lifelong dream of working in this profession, oftentimes being second-generation truckers. Riding in the passenger seat of your parent’s cab tends to leave a lasting impression. This is where numerous “trucker kids” discover the passion, leading them to sign up at the earliest possible juncture.
President Joe Biden signed a new infrastructure bill into effect which, among other things, allows interstate trips to be made by drivers as young as 18 in certain cases. That being said, it is important to note that this is not a blanket allowance for all individuals 18 and up who want to drive trucks.
It is, however, an attempt to inject some desperately needed speed and capacity into the U.S.’s already vastly overextended supply chain. But many experts wonder, “at what cost – and whose safety may be at risk?”
Under this new infrastructure law, individuals as young as 18 now have a route to becoming licensed truck drivers by way of a pilot program. It takes three years to complete – and has been the subject of ample criticism from advocates of traffic safety who are concerned about the rise in truck accidents.
Dangerous vehicles in the hands of dangerous drivers
One statistic that’s often pointed to by these advocates is the sheer fact that teenagers are four times more likely to be in a collision than more experienced drivers. This is obviously a cause for concern when teenagers are being put behind the wheel of 80,000-pound vehicles, operating them at high speeds down busy freeways.
The trucking industry was and is a huge proponent of this pilot program, though. A report from leaders in the field estimated that 80,000 new drivers are needed to keep up with the projected ongoing demand.
Finding the compromise between public safety and the rigorous demands of the modern supply chain is never going to be easy. The only way to find what’s best for the public is through the continued conversation between trucking industry leaders and traffic safety experts.
If you or anybody you know has been involved in an accident involving a truck, call the attorneys at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. We’re here to help.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.