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Younger Truck Driver Risks

Delaware County truck accident lawyers stand up for victims of truck accidents due to younger truck drivers and the risks they pose.Currently, federal law does not permit truck drivers under the age of 21 to haul cargo across state lines. These restrictions have been in place for more than 80 years. However, the retiring of the Baby Boomers is causing a huge shortfall in the number of truck drivers available to fill industry jobs.

Two House Republicans have recently introduced a bill that would lower the age for carrying cargo across state lines to 18. But safety experts have serious concerns about the proposal. Truck driving is among the occupations with the highest fatality rates, even with the federal restrictions on under-21 interstate drivers.

The Seven Year Shortage

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), there is already a seven-year driver shortage, and that shortage is only expected to grow. The average trucker working today is 55 years old. The industry needs at least 3.5 million truck drivers to haul freight across the country each year. The lack of available drivers is causing wage increases and an uptick in the amount charged to carry loads. All of these additional costs are eventually passed on to consumers. As demand increases, the ATA estimates the industry will require a minimum of 1 million new truck drivers within the next six years.

The Dangerous Ages

Younger drivers in general have much higher accident rates than older, more experienced drivers. The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that drivers aged 16 to 19 have fatal crash rates three times higher than those over 20. While teen drivers make up seven percent of all drivers on the road, they account for 11 percent of accidents. Male teens, the majority of potential truck drivers, are twice as likely to have accidents as female teenagers.

Women make up only six percent of truck drivers nationally, although the industry is trying to attract more female drivers.

The Lowered Age Proposal

Under the proposed bill, truckers in the 18 to 21 age range would face a speed limit restriction of 65 miles per hour – with a device installed that would not permit a faster speed – as well as additional supervision, including video cameras. Younger truck drivers would have to work in-state for at least 400 hours, and spend 240 hours working alongside a more experienced trucker, before becoming eligible for a license allowing them to work across state lines.

Industry advocates say the younger drivers will benefit from better safety training and technology. They also note that for teens with just a high school diploma, truck driving provides a high-wage income, with starting pay of as much as $60,000. While every state allows truck drivers age 18 to 21 to drive within its borders, crossing the state lines would help relieve the national trucker shortage.

Industry representatives say the lowered age would allow them to expand their talent pool.

Delaware County Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Stand Up for Victims of Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you need the services of the experienced Delaware County truck accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.