Truck drivers do their part to deliver essential goods to various destinations across the United States. Supply chains may suffer when the industry lacks qualified drivers, leading to a potentially disastrous economic ripple effect. Putting more drivers on the road could be a top priority among the private sector and government officials concerned about the economic impact. That said, many put safety high on the priority list. Recent decisions about lowering the age bracket for commercial truck drivers now raise questions about reduced safety on Georgia roads.
Younger truck drivers present solutions and risks
Both state and federal regulations enhance safety in the trucking industry. Mandatory breaks, for example, could reduce instances of fatigued driving. Most people agree that a person too tired to drive may present hazards on the road. Concerns about a driver who is “too young” might face counterpoints. A 19-year-old driver who adheres to traffic laws could be much safer than a 40-year-old who doesn’t. Regardless, some believe that 21 is the proper minimum age for becoming a commercial truck driver since experience counts when hoping to avoid motor vehicle accidents.
An approved pilot program on the horizon
A pilot program may soon arrive that affords 18-year-olds the chance to drive a big rig and earn a decent living. The pilot program could okay 18-year-olds for long-haul trucking jobs. The program would require an act of congress, which may happen if a trucker shortage persists. On the regulatory level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has long supported lowering the driving age. So, the pilot program might move forward.
A driver whose negligence causes an accident may face a civil suit, whether young or mature. Truck collisions could inflict massive injuries, meaning the suits could involve substantial judgments or settlements.