The trucking industry faces a crisis that ripples through the United States economy. A dramatic lack of drivers undermines the supply chain, leaving many delivery points without desired products. Truckers might also bring fuel to gas stations in Connecticut and perform other duties the public might not realize. The average person may not know the minimum age for long-haul interstate trucking jobs is 21, but that could change if a pilot program turns out to be successful.
Teens may become long-haul truckers
Younger drivers typically lack the experience of older, seasoned ones. Therefore, a teen driver might be more at risk for causing a car accident. Yet, a pilot program established under 2021 infrastructure legislation will create opportunities for truck drivers as young as 18. Perhaps the hope is the training required for a CDL license could instill knowledge about safety and professional conduct.
Another confidence-boosting factor may be that some aspiring truck drivers want to follow in the footsteps of family members. Those growing up in a family of professional drivers might know more about safety than the average teen driver.
Why are lawmakers and regulators opting to green light teen truck drivers now, though? A shortage of 80,000 drivers surely prompted the decision. The United States needs more long-haul truckers, and the powers-that-be deemed the risks associated with teen drivers are worth it.
Truck collisions and negligence
Just as many teen drivers never cause any auto accidents, conscientious and safe teen truckers might never contribute to a truck crash. However, some might, and those drivers could face civil actions as older drivers would. Regardless of the driver’s age, the person hopefully carries adequate liability insurance to cover the costs.
The pilot program could determine that safety advocates were overly cautious. Accidents may happen at less frequency than believed, but such collisions might still result in a personal injury lawsuit.