Teenagers are some of the highest-risk drivers on Florida roads. Large trucks are among the most lethal vehicles. Yet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is floating the idea of a potential pilot program that would give 18-to-20-years-old the keys to big rigs.
As it stands, federal regulation limits allowances on interstate commercial vehicle operation to those over 21. But last month, the FMCSA announced it was seeking public comment on an initiative to address the commercial truck driver shortage by on-boarding teenage truckers.
Truck accident attorneys understand this was expand an existing pilot program that allows some 200 youths 18-to-20 to operate interstate commercial trucks – but only if they have military training. This expanded version would extend to teens without any formal military training could soon be commandeering 80,000-pound machines, for the purpose of revving up the trucking industry that is experiencing a driver shortage.
Federal regulators are asking for all public input from all stakeholders. They’re bracing for a flood, with big business trucking industry advocates on one side and independent owner-operators, safety groups, railroads and unions on the other. Some have already taken their message to the media, arguing the discussion should be about moving the minimum driving age for truckers up – not down. Even with military training, there is concern it would not be enough to combat inherent youthful immaturity, particularly among males, who are most likely to apply. Continue reading