In a move designed to mitigate the supply-chain interruptions and paucity of able-bodied truck drivers in the United States, the Administration is creating an apprenticeship program for those aged 18 to 20 to learn how to drive semitrucks across state lines. Under the old laws, 18- to 20-year-olds could drive semitrucks within a state’s boundaries.
Much criticism from various groups was lobbed at the proposal, yet it appears that these changes, which are part of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, are imminent.
What could possibly go wrong?
According to data collected in a study at the University of Michigan and provided to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when compared to the rest of the truckers in our country, there is a 500% uptick in injuries suffered in highway accidents when the semitruck driver is younger than 21.
Consider also that research shows teens’ brains continue to develop until they reach their mid-20s. Adults process information with their prefrontal cortexes, the area of the brain that responds rationally. But until about age 25, the amygdala controls the thinking processes of young adults. Instead of using good judgment and weighing the long-term consequences of their actions, younger people use their emotions to guide them in the decision-making process.
Parse how that could play out on the nation’s interstates and you realize that doesn’t make for enhanced roadway safety.
The executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition has been particularly vocal on this issue and challenged Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to end the program upon the “first fatality or serious injury.”
The president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) also chimed in, stating that “[i]t makes no sense to put one of the most dangerous driving populations behind the wheel of 80,000-pound rigs.”
Fight for compensation from trucking accidents
Regardless of their age, if you get seriously injured or lose a loved one in an accident with an at-fault semitruck driver, you have the right to seek civil justice by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against those liable parties.