Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers: Proposed Bill to Allow More Teens to Drive Big-Rigs

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For several years now, the American Trucking Association has been lamenting a shortage of truck drivers caused by retiring baby boomers and a growing demand for freight. Recently, the ATA has sought to solve this problem by asking Congress to approve a bill that would allow more teen drivers behind the wheel of tractor trailers.

Many trucking companies already employ 18-20 year olds as in-state drivers. However, current federal regulations require drivers who cross state lines to be at least 21 years old. The rule is designed to protect young drivers and other motorists from the dangers of combining inexperience with driving heavy trucks for long distances. The proposed bill would permit states to form compacts that allow drivers as young as 18 years old to drive between them. The bill would restrict the number of miles a teen driver could travel into a neighboring state to 100 miles. Teens would also not be permitted to transport hazardous materials and many oversized loads. The bill would allow states and the Department of Transportation to impose other restrictions if needed. There would be no requirement for states to join the compacts and no limit as to how many states could join.

Safety advocates contend that the bill, if passed, would result in higher numbers of truck accidents, injuries and fatalities. Statistics show that teen drivers are involved in a disproportionately high number of motor vehicle crashes and crash deaths. In 2013, drivers aged 18-21 years old had a fatal motor vehicle involvement rate that was 66% higher than driver’s age 21 years and older, according to the Transportation Department’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Commercial vehicles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Their size, weight, and limited maneuverability make them extremely difficult to drive safely, particularly for long distances and in hazardous road conditions. Moreover, truck driving is known for being high-stress work. Truckers must be able to remain calm and make good decisions while dealing with everyday stress caused by traffic delays, demanding work schedules, and pressure to meet or exceed delivery times. Many argue that these are skills not often possessed by teen drivers.

Maryland Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Rigid Safety Standards

Truck accidents can have devastating consequences for those involved, especially passengers of smaller cars and trucks. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in a truck accident caused by an inexperienced or negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Maryland truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today to discuss your case for free with one of our seasoned and highly skilled truck accident lawyers. A qualified member of our legal team is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day by calling 800-547-4LAW (4529) or by contacting us online.

We have offices in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson. We represent truck accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.