Will Lowering the Driving Age Reduce Truck Driver Shortage?

July 12, 2018

Delaware County Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on lowering driver age to reduce trucker shortage may lead to more truck accidents. America is amid a nationwide truck driver shortage. As companies like Amazon and Walmart’s delivery services continue to expand, the trucking industry cannot keep up. Experts say that nearly 15,000 more drivers are needed to fill the shortage. The truck industry estimates that over the next 10 years, trucking companies will need to hire 1,000,000 drivers to meet the growing demand for deliveries nationwide. The current shortage of truck drivers has already resulted in longer delivery times and an increased price of consumer goods.

Filling the Driver Shortage

A California Congressman offers one way to attract more drivers by lowering the driving age. Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act (DRIVE-Safe Act) would allow 18-year-old drivers with their commercial driver’s license to cross state lines. The current age requirement is 21.

So far, increased salaries and bonuses have not been enough to attract more drivers. The lifestyle is hard on drivers and their families, and many potential drivers do not feel the salary is worth the sacrifice of time away from home. Younger drivers may be more willing to work away from home and spend weeks or months at a time on the road. Lowering the age requirement would greatly expand the labor pool.

The DRIVE-Safe Act consists of an apprenticeship program that would require drivers under the age of 21 to complete 400 hours on the road. At least 240 of those hours would be chaperoned by an experienced driver. The legislation would also require all training trucks to be equipped with cameras and programmed to maintain a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.

 DRIVE-Safe Act Opponents

Opponents of the legislation to lower the commercial trucking driver age say that allowing younger drivers to operate tractor trailers is a recipe for disaster. The president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote in a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that younger drivers lack overall experience and are less safe behind the wheel than older drivers. He adds that 19 and 20-year-old commercial truck drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal truck accident and believes that improving the industry for drivers is the best way to expand the labor pool.

With the shortage of truckers across the country, current drivers may also be overworked and overtired. Drivers who spend long hours behind the wheel without sufficient time to rest are more likely to be involved in a serious truck accident.

Delaware County Truck Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Provide Comprehensive Representation for Victims of Truck Accidents

The experienced Delaware County truck accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. provide smart and effective legal counsel for personal injury victims. To learn more about your legal options after a truck accident, call 610-565-3701 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. With offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout the surrounding areas including Delaware County, Chester County, and throughout the greater Philadelphia area.