18-Year-Old Truck Drivers Will Soon Be Allowed To Drive Semi Trucks Across State Lines
The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for so long that some of the practices people have adopted to cope with it have become normal aspects of our lives. We have become accustomed to wearing masks in crowded indoor areas and washing our hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” every time we come into the house, and many of us have perfected a new signature recipe that mimics a favorite restaurant dish for a fraction of the price. Meeting friends for a garden party is more fun than going to the movies, but no one will miss going to the grocery store and finding the shelves half empty. Everyone agrees that there are shortages of many everyday items, but not everyone agrees on how to fix the problem. A shortage of truck drivers is making it difficult for many products to reach consumers, and a new apprenticeship program for new truck drivers will enable them to qualify more quickly to transport freight on interstate trips, even if that means that some of the drivers transporting your fresh strawberries from California to South Carolina will be too young to order a Long Island iced tea in a bar. No matter the age of the driver, the chances that a truck accident will result in serious injuries are greater than in an accident involving two cars. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a Columbia truck accident lawyer.
A Solution to Trucking Shortages or a Recipe for Catastrophic Accidents?
Today, almost every state allows people ages 18 and older to apply for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and drive commercial trucks on trips where the entire route is in the state where the driver’s license was issued. This means that, if you drive on the interstate in California or Texas, you could be sharing the road with an 18-year-old who has been in control of an 18-wheeler for eight consecutive hours or more. For routes that cross state lines, drivers must be at least 21 years old. Meanwhile, in order to relieve trucking shortages, the United States needs about 80,000 more interstate truckers than it currently has.
Pursuant to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021, an apprenticeship program to train interstate truckers is about to begin. To enroll in the program, you must be at least 18 years old, hold a CDL, and currently be employed in good standing as a truck driver. An experienced driver, at least 26 years old, will train you to make interstate trips and will accompany you on several trips. This means that younger truckers could soon start handling interstate trips alone. Critics of the program fear that this will lead to more accidents, since drivers below the age of 21 are, in general, at higher risk of causing an accident than any other age group.
Let Us Help You Today
The truck accident lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you seek damages if you were injured in a truck accident. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.