Trucking collisions in Oklahoma can be deadly because of the size of shipping trucks. Truck accidents have a higher chance of fatal injuries, which is why not everyone supports the fact that President Biden’s infrastructure bill has a pilot program for 18-year-olds who want to drive trucks. There are pros and cons to allowing teenagers to drive big rigs.
Supply chain issue
According to one national trucking union, they’re short at least 80,000 truck drivers to meet expectations. They say the lack of drivers is hurting the economy by threatening the supply chain. The new pilot program and relaxing rest rules for truck drivers are measures on the table to help the economy.
Relaxing driver rest regulation
The Department of Transportation currently restricts drivers to work 11 hours a day with a maximum of 70 hours a week. The Trump Administration allowed drivers who are only driving a few days per week to work 14 hours a day. The Biden Administration is looking to relax the rest rules for all drivers. If the government does relax the rest regulation, it’ll only be for an emergency such as supply chain issues.
Trucker pilot program
The new pilot program allows 18-year-olds to start a three-year pilot program, which allows them to drive cross-country. Normally, a person has to wait until 21 for cross-country shipping. The union says that this will help get more drivers on the road.
However, there are safety concerns about the risk of truck accidents with teenagers. Statistically, teenagers have a higher rate of vehicle collisions.
Risks of teenage truckers
There are higher risks for teenage drivers, which could lead to more truck accident casualties. With younger and less experienced drivers on the road, longer hours might not be the best solution. Since 18-year-olds are four times as likely to have a collision as a 20-year-old, insurance companies will likely raise the company rates.
The pilot program doesn’t have teenagers driving alone. During the three-year pilot program, a driver needs 400 hours before they can drive on the interstate alone. It can raise the risk of truck accidents, but New York is the only state that has drivers wait until 21 for their commercial driver’s license.