Driving a truck can be a grueling, demanding occupation, especially for drivers who travel across the country. Not only do drivers face the risk of getting in an accident, they also need to find ways to cope with the long hours of sitting behind the wheel. As such, it is important for trucking company owners to hire people capable of performing the job safely and in accordance with state and federal trucking laws.
However, between the shortage of truck drivers and increasing demands on transportation companies, finding drivers who fit these criteria is proving to be quite difficult. That may or may not change if bills to lower the interstate commercial driving age from 21 to 18 are successful.
What proponents of the bills say
Supporters say that lowering the age for interstate drivers provides valuable opportunities for younger drivers looking for a career in trucking. There is also motivation to lower the age because, as noted in this analysis from the American Trucking Association, people between the ages of 18-20 have the highest rate of unemployment. Lowering the driving age could increase employment opportunities while possibly reversing the driver shortage.
What critics of the bills say
Critics of lowering the age say that teenage drivers are simply not safe or responsible enough to operate a commercial truck across state lines. They say that teenage drivers are at least four times more likely to be in a fatal crash, and they do not have the driving experience to warrant an interstate license. Instead of hiring younger drivers to address the shortage, opponents of the bills argue, more should be done to keep and attract drivers who fit the current criteria.
What this means for trucking company owners today
It is not yet known if the bills to lower the age will pass, though we will certainly follow up with any developments.
Issues regarding regulations and hiring practices in the trucking industry can be incredibly complicated and divisive. But regardless of where you fall on a particular measure as a trucking company owner, it is crucial that you take seriously compliance with state and federal trucking laws. Should you have questions or concerns about complex regulations or insurance issues, you can consult an attorney.