Traveling down the highway with a lot of big rigs can make anybody nervous. You really have to hope that the truckers behind those wheels know what they are doing.
That’s why it’s so concerning to so many people that New York wants to give teenagers the ability to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Why would New York open the door to teenage truckers?
There’s an ongoing shortage of truck drivers around the nation. The American Trucking Association says that the United States is about 800,000 truckers short of what they need right now, and there’s no sign that things are getting better soon.
The changing social and economic conditions have increased demand on the trucking industry right when a lot of existing truckers have simply “aged out” of the industry. Many older drivers have abruptly retired either due to health concerns or as a reaction to industry pressures.
In fact, the National Transportation Institute says that more than half of the shortage (54%) can be directly tied to retirements. Moreover, the median age of the truckers left is still pretty high. For over-the-road truckers, the median age is 46, while the median age for drivers in private fleets is 57 – and the average age of any new truckers coming on is 35.
For some, the only solution they see to the problem is to open the door to young drivers and see if they can capture the interest of some new would-be drivers before they go into other careers. That may mean getting them interested in the job before they go to college or trade school. Right now, that’s not easy to do with CDL Class A licenses restricted to those 21 years of age and older.
Although the rules haven’t been established, a new bill already allows the state to allow any driver over 18 years of age to potentially get their Class A CDL – and that’s worrisome. Teen drivers often lack the maturity and experience to handle many roadway dangers, and that could put the lives of everyone on the highway with them at risk.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident or a loved one has been killed, find out more about your legal rights today.