A bill introduced in 2019 would allow interstate travel even to those CDL holders under the age of 21 if it is passed. Wyoming residents should know that the American Trucking Association’s president has called the bill safety-minded and responsible. However, other groups have expressed their concerns over the bill in a February 2020 hearing held by the Senate Commerce Transportation and Safety Subcommittee.
The DRIVE-Safe Act is the name of this bipartisan bill, and it proposes to create an apprenticeship program for those CDL holders under 21. Currently, all states except Hawaii let drivers as young as 18 obtain a CDL, but these drivers are limited to intrastate travel. As part of the program, truckers would complete 400 driving hours, at least 240 of which would be accompanied by a CDL holder 21 or older.
One of the concerns is that teen truckers are inexperienced and should not sent out to different states where the routes and road conditions are unfamiliar. Studies show that truckers aged 18 to 20 see a higher rate of crashes than others.
One more concern, voiced by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, is that the bill is arguably founded on a myth: namely, a driver shortage in the trucking industry. Any measures meant to address this shortage may only harm the industry.
In the event of a trucking accident, those who are injured may be able to seek compensation, and knowing just how the trucker was negligent will play a crucial role in this. The trucker’s age may even become a factor, and the trucking company may partly be to blame for the crash by, say, failing to train the employee sufficiently. Whatever the case looks like, victims may want a lawyer to evaluate it and give advice and guidance.