Younger Commercial Drivers May Increase Roadway Dangers

Statistically, teenage drivers are the most dangerous on the road. They are involved in more accidents each year and are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than older drivers. Male teen drivers represent an even higher risk, with the auto accident-related death rate twice as high for boys as girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The question of allowing younger truck drivers is not new, having been approached by government officials many times over the past two decades. Now, officials are closer than ever to lowering the commercial driving age to 18 years old, a move supported by the trucking industry and opposed by safety advocacy groups. The trucking industry says recruiting younger drivers could help offset a growing driver shortage, which in turn would boost the economy by moving more goods. Safety advocacy groups, however, say the risks associated with teen truckers are not worth it.

Safety Advocacy Groups Say Teen Truckers Are Dangerous

Safety advocacy groups have strongly urged lawmakers to ban teen truckers. Currently, many states, including Illinois and Missouri, allow commercial drivers on the road at age 18, but only for intrastate hauling. Teens may not cross state lines driving commercially.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published a letter to federal officials when the issue was first presented, citing three studies that claimed an increased risk of crashes for younger truckers.

Research from the University of Michigan claims younger truck drivers are “significantly overinvolved” in accidents, noting young drivers were cited as following too closely, speeding, failing to anticipate the actions of others and having trouble controlling their vehicle.

Why Are Teens More at Risk

Teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Their age puts them in a developmental stage where they feel invincible and so may not take the caution they should when operating a vehicle. Teens are:

  • Less likely to use seat belts
  • More likely to underestimate dangerous situations on the road
  • More likely to speed
  • More likely to drive under the influence

Truck accidents are among the most dangerous on the road, with consequences that can last a lifetime. If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident with a young driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced legal team at the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm can help. Start learning more about your rights today; fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.