Many people do not know important details on how the trucking industry works. Such knowledge is essential if we are to have any true and lasting success reducing truck collisions which would in turn lower the overall driving fatalities in the U.S.
The first notable fact about the industry is that there is a serious driver shortage. This creates a heavy burden on those drivers who are employed. Why? There is a strong tendency for them to be overworked and fatigued- and this causes more wrecks.
Often, congress and trucking industry lobbyists attempt to legislatively increase the number of drivers in order to relieve the overworked truckers. To date, none have been successful. A most recent attempt occurred this year in June when republican leaders introduced Senate Bill 1672. This bill desires lowering regulations on new truck drivers by requesting a decrease in the required age for interstate drivers to include 18-20 year olds. Currently, national law requires that the truck driver be 21 years old in order to drive across state borders (interstate driving). Many economists opine that this will help boost the unemployment rate among young people, with an expected 100,00 new jobs over the next 10 years.
However, this decrease in age requirement has significant negatives. First and perhaps most obviously and statistically true, 18 year olds have far less experience driving and clearly are much more likely to get into a crash. For example, according to the Transportation Department’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, drivers between the ages of 18-20 had a fatal crash rate that was 66% higher than drivers 21 years or older. This large projected increase in crashes has many citizens and Senators opposing this bill. One might seriously question that if this bill becomes law and the intent is to remedy a problem, will the roads actually be safer or more dangerous?
Congress has yet to make a decision on the bill, but as time passes and more fatigued drivers are involved in collisions, the pressure on our policy makers grows. Regardless, it is still critically important to be ever vigilant in order for you and your family to be safe on our roadways.
For more information on the trucking industry and road safety, feel free to read our other blogs – http://kitricklaw.com/firm-blogs/