Trucking accident: 18 year old truck driver is a threat to you

Trucking accident safety issues are an extremely important area of concern to the professionals at the Greenville SC personal injury law firm Thomas Creech Law Offices.  We represent victims of motor vehicle accidents, including trucking accidents, and in the course of our representation of trucking accident victims, we see the devastation, the sorrow, and unspeakable grief that trucking accident tragedies cause to families. Our friends at the Trucking Safety Coalition have been focusing on trucking safety issues and making public trucking safety issues that pose threat to ordinary motorists using America’s highways.  A new trucking accident safety issue is being discussed in Washington and on editorial pages across the Untied States.  That issue? 18 year old drivers driving 18 wheeler tractor-trailers across state lines.

An editorial from USA Today that is out this morning discusses the issue here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/09/03/truck-safety-labor-day-congress-editorials-debates/71661704/

Before discussing the safety of 18 year old truck drivers, think about this: according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, on average there are ten trucking related accidents resulting in fatalities every day in the United States. Also, according to statistics, its usually the driver of the smaller vehicle involved in the trucking accident, not the truck driver, that is injured or killed.  So regardless of the age of the driver, big-rig trucks are dangerous.

From the various media outlets reporting about this issue and other sources, here are some facts about 18 year old truck drivers:

  • Rental car companies generally do not rent cars to people younger than 21.
  • 18- to 20-year-old drivers have a fatal crash rate of more than double the rate for drivers 21 and older.
  • 18 year old drivers take more risks
  • 18 year old drivers underestimate hazards on the road
  • 18 year old drivers overestimate their driving abilities

So does it really make sense to allow an 18 year old to drive big-rig trucks? Of course not. Currently, in South Carolina an 18 year old can get a commercial drivers license.  However, the 18 year old can only operate in the State of South Carolina and may not cross state lines because of a federal ban prohibiting the practice.  There is proposed legislation in Congress that would lift that ban and allow 18 year old commercial drivers to operate big rigs anywhere in the United States and drive across state lines. Is that a good idea. No!!!

Knowing how dangerous an 18 year old driver is in the first place, 18 year old drivers should not be allowed to operate a commercial big rig truck at all, whether it be within the state or across state lines.  A dangerous truck driver is dangerous regardless of where the truck driver is driving that big rig. So the distinction between driving across state lines is pointless and makes no sense.

To learn more about these trucking accident safety topics, visit the Trucking Safety coalition website. Read the full editorial in the USA Today. All of us, including our families, our friends, use the highways of our state and nation. Those highways must be as safe as possible. Eliminating risky drivers from operating big rig trucks should be done immediately.