If the thought of a teenager driving through New York in a big rig worries you, you’re not alone. There is a new Senate bill to train thousands of young people to drive semi-trucks, and it has a lot of traffic safety advocates concerned.
What the bill includes
Included in the Surface Transportation Investment Act is a bipartisan amendment to establish a new truck driving training program. The program would train 3,000 new truck drivers aged 18 to 20 to drive the largest trucks that operate in the U.S. Freight companies would then be allowed to hire these new drivers, who could potentially be recent high school graduates.
Who is opposed to the bill
A nonprofit group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has written an open letter opposing the proposed pilot program. The group is also opposing several other policies in the federal bill that it says are dangerous.
According to the group, drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 are much more likely to get into fatal motor vehicle accidents than older truck drivers. Not only are teen drivers inexperienced, but they also have a tendency to overestimate their driving skills. Younger drivers are more likely to engage in reckless driving behaviors like speeding.
Most states already allow teen truck drivers
Most states in the U.S. already allow drivers as young as 18 to obtain their commercial driver’s licenses and operate trucks inside state lines. If you were injured in a truck driving accident involving a teen driver, you may be struggling to pay medical bills and pay living expenses while you recover from your injuries. You might be eligible to file a claim for compensation from the truck driver’s employer.