Will Reducing the Age of Truck Drivers on the Road Increase the Number of Accidents?

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Truck driving is a dangerous profession that involves a certain level of responsibility. For a very long time, trucking regulations were extremely strict regarding age – drivers had to be 21 years old to operate trucks and haul cargo. However, truck driver shortages are occurring across the country, and federal trucking regulations may change to allow drivers as young as 18 to get behind the wheel of these large vehicles.

New Trucking Age Regulations

The trucking industry is seeing a drastic drop in the number of drivers on the road. This phenomenon is largely due to the increasing number of baby boomer drivers reaching retirement age and leaving the industry in large numbers.

A new bill in the Senate proposes a solution to this problem: lowering the minimum truck driving age to 18 years old. While federal regulations allow any driver over the age of 18 to obtain their commercial driver’s license, this new proposal will allow truck drivers aged 18 and over to haul cargo across state lines and operate these massive trucks.

Truck driving regulations are strict for a very good reason. Trucks are extremely large vehicles and can cause devastating damages if involved in an accident. In addition, young, inexperienced drivers often cause more accidents than their older counterparts. From the outside, these two proposals simply don’t mix. While this solution would increase the pool of drivers for the industry, does it put other drivers on the road at risk?

ATRI’s Crash Risk Prediction Report

The American Transportation Research Institute releases a yearly crash risk prediction report to analyze the likelihood of trucking accidents involving large vehicles. The 2018 report includes crash data analysis for age and gender risk, as well as other data.

The report concludes that male truck drivers are 20% more likely to be in a trucking crash than female truck drivers.

  • Drivers between the ages of 40 and 85 are the least likely to be in a trucking accident.
  • Risky behaviors are more likely to cause truck crashes than any other factor, such as reckless driving and failure to yield the right-of-way.
  • Being involved in a previous crash raises a truck driver’s likelihood of being in a future crash by 74%.

While this data does not include statistics on very young drivers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details harrowing data on teens and crash risk. Young drivers between the ages of 15 to 24 account for 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among men and 28% of the total costs of injuries among women. In addition, teens are less likely than older drivers to identify and respond to hazardous and dangerous driving situations. As a result, their crash risk increases. When they’re behind the wheel of a large vehicle such as a semi-truck, it can lead to devastating consequences.

What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident

No matter who is behind the wheel, truck accidents can be devastating to car operators. If you are involved in a truck accident, take the following steps to stay safe and increase your chances of a successful claim.

  • If you can safely move from your vehicle without pain or additional injury, call 911 as soon as possible. The medical and police reports from emergency services will provide crucial pieces of evidence for your case.
  • Take photographs of the scene, including both vehicles, any posted traffic signs, and the area around the accident.
  • Exchange information with the other driver, such as your insurance and contact information.
  • Collect the contact information of any witnesses in the area.

For best results, contact a California truck accident attorney as soon as possible to begin your claims process. Your attorney can assist you through the claims process so you can focus on recovery, not paperwork.