The shortage of people willing and able to drive large trucks across the country is causing increasing supply chain demands. There is a combination of truckers leaving the industry and people who are unwilling to live a life on the road driving large semis.
To combat the issue, a recent order now allows some people as young as 18 to start driving these large vehicles. Previously, the age limit was 21 since teens tend to crash four times as often as their older counterparts.
Here’s what you should know about the change and how it could impact safety on the road.
Why younger drivers?
Truck drivers are leaving the industry faster than usual. The combination of long hours, high demands, stress and low pay, are taking their toll and leading to higher levels of burnout.
While other industries can limp along through labor shortages by shifting workloads, the significant regulations in the trucking industry make it even more difficult to meet increasing demands and backlogged work. To meet the challenges of the driver shortage, President Biden passed a law allowing some younger drivers to make interstate trips.
Are younger drivers more dangerous?
Becoming a commercial truck driver requires a substantial amount of testing and training. While drivers must be able to demonstrate specific knowledge and skills, that is not all it takes to be a safe commercial driver.
One of the most critical tools a truck driver has is experience. Many drivers get years of experience before pursuing their commercial license, giving them a different perspective when driving a larger rig.
While these younger drivers may provide some relief in the midst of a shortage, in a job where a split-second decision can be the difference between a collision and getting home safely, experience is essential.