More teenagers are behind the wheels of big rigs in Texas and across the country. Many people assume that truckers have to be 21 to drive large semis, but New York is the only state that has that regulation. The concern is the increase in life-threatening accidents with inexperienced drivers operating large trucks.
An increase of younger drivers
Trucking unions know that they’re about 80,000 truckers away from what they need. The economy and supply chain suffer from the shortage of cross-country trucking. The issue is that personal injury claims could go up with more inexperienced drivers on the road. Studies indicate that 18-year-old drivers have a higher chance of reckless driving and crashes than 20-year-old drivers.
Three-year pilot program
The new three-year pilot program is controversial because teenagers are four times as likely to get into an accident than older drivers. The risk of a catastrophic truck accident on the interstate is always a concern for any driver. In the program, inexperienced teenage drivers must have 400 hours behind the wheel before using the interstate alone. All teenage truck drivers join a more experienced driver on interstates until they complete their 400 hours.
Flexible rest regulations
The government has been questioning rest regulations for truckers for three administrations now. Under the Department of Transportation, truckers can work 11 hours a day and 70 hours a week. All truckers need a mandatory 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shift. Last year, the president made an exemption for truckers only driving a few hours from the starting point to work 14 hours a day.
There are always chances for things to go wrong on the road. Having younger, inexperienced truckers on the road can increase the risk of commercial accidents and personal injury. The pilot program pairs young drivers with experienced ones to help them learn on the job, but relaxing the rest regulations could increase the risk of careless driving.