It’s not just a myth that teenagers are terrible drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mile-per-mile comparisons show that male teenagers (in particular) between 16 and 19 years of age are almost three times more likely than older drivers to end up in a fatal wreck.
Why, then, is the federal government allowing 18-year-old drivers to hit the interstate in semitrucks?
In trucking, business is booming
It all comes down to economics and desperation. Over the last few years, online ordering has skyrocketed and, with it, the demand for truckers. At the same time, many older truckers are retiring as age catches up with them and leaves them with lifestyle-related disabilities like diabetes and back problems.
This has created a shortage of roughly 80,000 drivers. The industry is eager to replace them with younger workers. Apparently, the thinking is “the younger the better” so that they don’t have to worry about another wave of older drivers retiring in a few years.
That’s why the new Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program came into being. 18-year-olds with clean driving records and a commercial driver’s license can now drive semis interstate as long as they’re under the supervision of a more experienced driver.
If this makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Even folks in the industry have expressed concerns that kids that age can handle the responsibility of a big rig on a long trip.
Trucks can cause the most devastating motor vehicle accidents of all. If you’ve been hurt in a wreck with a commercial vehicle or your loved one was killed in a crash with one, find out what kind of legal options you have to obtain compensation for your losses.