Much has been written and said about the supply chain crisis in the United States and around the world. President Biden has made efforts to alleviate the problem, convincing harbor terminals in California to operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week to reduce the glut of ships waiting to unload cargo. This is a step in the right direction, but the U.S. trucking industry is an important part of that supply chain, moving 72.5% of the nation’s freight, and it still doesn’t have enough drivers to deliver goods. That has been the case since the 1980s. Despite high starting pay, the long hours and time away from home do not suit many workers.
Teen truck drivers?
One proposed solution is allowing 18-year-olds to drive large, commercial trucks. Most parents worry about lending the family car to their teen for good reason, so putting a young driver at the wheel of a 50-foot vehicle carrying as much as 80,000 pounds of a payload could be risky. Inexperience with real driving situations puts teen truck drivers at a higher risk for collisions and injuries to themselves and others.
The statistics show that:
- Teens aged 16-19 are the most likely group to get into a motor vehicle collision.
- Teens in this age group are three times more likely to get involved in a fatal collision than someone 20 or older.
- Male teens (male drivers dominate the trucking industry) are twice as likely as female teens to get involved in a fatal crash.
This idea also comes at a time when trucking regulations have been relaxed. The supply line crisis has prompted the government to increase the number of hours truckers can drive without breaks or sleep and the type of cargo they can carry.
Living with the consequences
Training and licensing make better drivers, but the danger of teen commercial truck drivers is undeniable. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver, an experienced trucking attorney should be consulted.