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Congress Considers Lowering the Minimum Age for Truck Drivers

Congress is considering passing a proposal that could allow drivers as young as 18 to operate 80,000 pound tractor trailers between states. The proposal is just one small part of a larger highway legislation that is currently before the Senate.  Although it is only one provision among many, it has received much media attention and raised considerable concerns from safety experts and drivers across the country.

Thus far, safety organization Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has spoken out against the proposal, stating that we should be attempting to reduce the number of teen drivers not expand their ability to drive across the country.  Currently, our Miami truck accident lawyers find that several states allow truckers 18 years and older to obtain commercial driving permits and operate tractor trailers, but they can only do so within their state’s borders.  Federal law does not currently permit anyone under the age of 21 from driving a tractor trailer across borders. 

Teen Drivers Most At Risk for Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the greatest risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents.  Teen drivers comprise just a small portion of the total driving community, around 14 percent, but account for over 30 percent of all accidents.  Safety experts have devoted considerable time and resources to uncovering why teen drivers are so likely to be involved in accidents.  Their research has pointed to the following factors:

  • Teen drivers lack the experience of older drivers and may not recognize hazards or react appropriately to when confronted with dangerous driving obstacles, such as sharp turns, an aggressive driver, wet roads, and more.
  • Teen drivers are more likely to drive at excess speeds and do not leave sufficient driving distance between themselves and vehicles around them.
  • Teens are more likely to drive distracted and under the influence of drugs or alcohol, likely because they do not appreciate the risks associated with these behaviors.
  • Teens are least likely to wear their seatbelts, contributing to the high teen fatality rate in serious accidents.

The dangerous driving patterns of teen drivers are well documented.  The question becomes whether these behaviors would translate to the realm of truck driving.  Regulators have considered using a graduated licensing system in order to ensure teen truckers have enough experience behind the wheel. The graduated system would require teens observe a certain number of hours with an experienced driver in the vehicle before they could obtain a commercial trucking license.  Additional regulations could include not allowing teen truckers to drive at night until they have attained a certain number of hours behind the wheel.

Many are weary of expanding the right of teen truckers to drive across state borders, while others feel it could positively improve the current truck driver shortage by bringing in fresh faces. Congress will face an important decision in the coming months as to this teen trucker provision.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Top Rated Truck Accident Attorneys 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, contact the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano We have of 130 collective years of experience representing truck accident victims in South Florida.  We will review your case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our firm has received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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