The truck driver shortage that has hit Florida and the rest of the country has trucking companies scrambling to find people to operate their vehicles. One of their solutions potentially puts you and your family at risk. These companies are often resorting to using teenage truckers to haul loads to their destinations.
Truck driving requires skill and training
Truck driving is a profession that requires highly-trained and skilled individuals. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, and even the most experienced drivers can struggle to control them. Add to this the time pressure of delivery and the responsibility for following a broad set of federal regulations, and you can see how truck driving is not suitable for everyone.
18-year-olds can now drive trucks
However, a new pilot program under the recently-signed infrastructure law allows some people as young as 18 years of age to obtain a commercial truck driver’s license. These drivers can make interstate trips with full cargo loads. This is an example where the law now takes certain risks with your own safety to alleviate a crushing truck driver shortage. Safety advocates worry about the effects of this three-year pilot program, especially when the rate of truck accidents has already been increasing steadily. The trucking industry, which has already been known to cut corners with safety, has claimed that lowering the age limit for truckers is the only way to get enough people to make the necessary deliveries.
These new rules do absolutely nothing to lower the duty of care that truck drivers must uphold. There will not be relaxed legal rules in truck accidents when the driver is less than 21 years of age. In the meantime, this is yet another thing that people must contend with on roads that are already becoming far more dangerous.