Truck Driver Shortage May Mean More Teens Behind the WheelSeptember 19, 2018
The trucking industry is dealing with a shortage of truck drivers, thanks to the growing number of people who are either leaving the industry or retiring. Unfortunately, there have not been enough qualified entrants to replace the drivers who have left.
In fact, the American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that the United States is short approximately 50,000 truck drivers. To recruit more drivers, the ATA has recommended lowering the minimum interstate driving age from 21 to 18.
However, many truck drivers believe that too many young, inexperienced drivers behind the wheel could put them, and other motorists on the road, at a greater risk of truck accidents.
The DRIVE-Safe Act
The DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced earlier this year by two Republican politicians, as a way to provide high school graduates with the opportunity to earn a good salary, and more quickly find a job as a truck driver.
However, the current age restriction for interstate truck driving is 21. The co-founder and president of supply-chain company Zipline Logistics told Business Insider that being able to recruit kids right out of high school can help address the driver shortage problem.
The DRIVE-Safe Act would require drivers under the age of 21 to successfully complete an apprenticeship program, before they can be considered full-fledged drivers. Drivers under the age of 21 would need to complete 400 hours of on-duty driving time, including 240 hours with an experienced driver. This would demonstrate a commitment to safety to the new generation of drivers.
Hazards of Teens Driving Trucks
Most truck drivers and safety advocates believe that lowering the age requirement is a bad idea, one that could endanger the lives of other motorists. Statistics show that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in serious crashes. According to research, drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 have the highest crash rate of adult drivers.
In addition, the crash rate of 18 to 19-year-olds is over twice as high as older adults. When a teen driver is involved in a crash, and he or she is behind the wheel of a massive, 80,000-pound truck, those statistics are particularly concerning.
Economists who study the trucking industry believe there is another way to attract and keep qualified truck drivers. Increasing driver salaries is the best way to prevent driver turnover.
Business Insider discovered that driver salaries are up to 50 percent lower than they were over forty years ago. One economist said that the problem is not that there is a shortage of drivers, but that people are simply unwilling to work for such low salaries.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Truck Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident involving a young, inexperienced driver, contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and seek the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.