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Trucking accidents a concern with rule allowing younger drivers

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2022 | Trucking Accidents |

Trucks are so common on the Florida roads that people may see them as a part of the daily commute and recreational travels. That, however, does not diminish how intimidating and worrisome they can be. These vehicles are so large and travel such great distances at significant speeds that an accident with one can cause catastrophic injuries and death. The ramifications for a truck crash will likely be far more severe than they are if two passenger vehicles collide. To maintain and encourage safety and vigilance, regulatory authorities like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issue punishments for wrongdoing and craft rules for truck companies and their drivers. Paying attention to these issues can be important for people to know how to remain safe.

New rule will let truckers 18 and older cross state lines

After extensive discussion about whether it was a positive idea or not, the rules about truck drivers’ age limits have been changed with drivers 18 and older now allowed to cross state lines legally when driving a semi. The foundation for this decision was purely business-related. Since truck companies have been having trouble finding drivers, adding to the pool of available workers was deemed important enough to alter the rule. It was stated in October than approximately 80,000 drivers were needed to fill the void. Younger drivers can help with the shortfall.

Still, there is concern that these young drivers will not have the temperament nor the experience to handle the emotional and physical rigors of truck driving. These young truckers will first serve as apprentices. Before this rule, 49 of the 50 states allowed truckers under 21 to drive rigs within the state lines, so it is not completely unheard of for 18-year-olds to drive trucks. The apprenticeship will have requirements including functioning under the supervision of an experienced driver, having a clean driving record and a commercial driver’s license. Statistics indicate that this might be dangerous. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that truck drivers under 21 have a 500% higher frequency of accidents.

Accidents can lead to fatalities with truck companies held accountable

The FMCSA is tasked with levying consequences to truckers and truck companies who are found negligent. One recent case involved a Florida company whose driver had a fatal collision in early November. Two people died in the accident and nine were injured. According to the investigation, there were issues with compliance, safety protocol and more. This was not the first time the company was cited for problems and lack of compliance. The company was put out of service as a result.

After a truck crash, it is important to assess the situation when weighing options

People who have been hurt or lost a loved one in trucking accidents must be fully knowledgeable about the differences between a truck accident and a passenger vehicle accident. There are myriad factors that could have played a role including the truck itself not having been safe; the driver behaving recklessly; distracted driving, drowsy driving or driving under the influence; and a failure to follow the requirements for time allowed on the road in one sitting. To make a full personal and financial recovery, it is important to have guidance to understand how to proceed.