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Is It Dangerous For Congress To Lower The Age For Long-Haul Truckers?



We all know there are thousands of tractor-trailers on Florida roads and highways at any given time. We know this because we can see them when we travel. We also see the many serious accidents these semi-trucks cause. Due to their size and weight, most big truck accidents are severe and violent, causing horrific injuries and even death. The long-haul trucking industry knows it has a safety problem with many semi-trailer drivers. Despite significant federal regulation of the nation’s trucking industry, as well as increased safety technology, there are still too many crashes involving 18-wheelers. For example, in 2018, there were 5,000 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses in the United States. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this represents a 48% increase over the number of large truck crash fatalities in 2009. Additionally, most people killed in these wrecks are not the truck driver, but drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles impacted in crashes. Each year, Florida experiences significant increases in truck traffic, and recent activity by Congress might increase the number of accidents caused by these tractor-trailers.

Congress Looking Into Lowering The Driving Age For Big Trucks

Federal regulations currently state that the legal driving age in the United States for large trucks is 21 years old. This means that every long-haul trucker driving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler is at least 21 years old. When this law was enacted, the chosen age limit reflected opinions regarding increased maturity, mentality, and physicality of older drivers. Additionally, it was believed younger drivers were not qualified to drive such a dangerous machine as a fully loaded tractor-trailer with weights up to 80,000 pounds. Recent changes to Federal law have lowered the age requirement in a new bill recently signed into law.

The New Infrastructure Bill Will Allow 18-Year-Olds To Drive Semi-Trucks

The new infrastructure bill, which Congress passed on November 15th, gives money to create a pilot program lobbied for by the trucking industry. The minimum age to legally drive a tractor-trailer and perform long-haul truck driving will be changed to 18 years old in this program. The trucking industry has argued that it needs the age limit lowered because a lack of drivers has negatively impacted the industry. The pilot program will put the teenagers through the same training program as most other truck drivers.

Critics say that it is a giveaway to the trucking industry and will cause more deadly accidents in an industry with too many crashes. Critics of the pilot program cite a 1991 study indicating that commercial drivers who were 19 and 20 years old were six times more likely to be involved in a fatal truck crash than older drivers.

It remains to be seen if having younger drivers will increase semi-truck accidents in Florida and throughout the United States. However, if you or a family member experiences a tractor-trailer accident in the meantime resulting in a serious injury, you need to contact an experienced tractor-trailer lawyer fighting on your side. These cases can be very complex, and you need to have someone with the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on big trucking companies.

Florida Truck Accident Attorneys

Hiring the right Florida truck accident lawyer is essential to protecting the value of your truck accident lawsuit. The truck accident attorneys at The Watson Firm understand the severity of a truck driver-related crash. Negligent truck drivers cause crashes resulting in life-threatening and deadly injuries. With years of experience in representing truck accident victims, The Watson Firm will spare no effort in taking on bad truck drivers, their employers, and their insurance companies to see that you get thorough compensation and justice. We are here for you whenever you need us. Call us now at (850) 607-2929 to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. Ourexperienced attorneys can review your case and help you fight for what you’re owed!