In Maryland, Washington DC and the surrounding areas, trucks are a frequent sight on the roads. This is a necessary part of everyday life as these vehicles deliver essential items across the country. Still, there is no denying how intimidating they can be. These vehicles are large, travel at substantial speeds and the drivers are relied upon to operate them safely. In some cases, a trucker might get behind the wheel under the influence, be distracted, behave recklessly or drive while drowsy. Recently, a new concern has cropped up and it has safety advocates concerned: teen truckers.
Pilot program gives teens the chance to be truckers, stoking fear
A pilot program will let teens 18 and older make interstate trips as truck drivers. This is making safety advocates fearful that youth and inexperience will lead to an uptick in truck crashes. Part of the reasoning behind this decision was the fundamental issue with finding truckers. The trucking industry stated that it needed around 80,000 more drivers to meet its needs. This has slowed deliveries and negatively impacted the economy.
Some argue that younger people are better equipped to handle the grueling work and mental and physical strain that accompanies it. They must meet basic requirements such as duty time of 400 hours. Despite that, teens are prone to accidents in general. Statistically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says they have quadruple the chance of a crash when compared to drivers 20 and older.
Younger truckers add another layer to ongoing safety challenges. Truckers and truck companies are trying to change the hours of service regulations. The current rules require truckers to drive a maximum of 11 hours during a workday and 70 hours over the course of one week. In their first eight hours, a half-hour break is mandated. If truckers are near their starting point when they begin, they can have a 14-hour window to drive. The combination of changes that are in the process of being made could lead to greater risk on the road, especially for those in smaller vehicles.
Truck safety and adherence should be scrutinized after an accident
The trucking industry is a powerful voice across the nation and plays a prominent role in how rules are made and enforced. With that, people who are sharing the road with truckers may get caught in the middle of economic needs and safety. Because truck accidents can cause such catastrophic injuries and death, it is imperative for those who have been hurt or lost a loved one to have guidance in assessing the case, gathering evidence and deciding how to proceed. Having experienced advice is vital to know the available options.