Disruptions in the product supply chain is a growing problem in the U.S. economy, and the infrastructure bill passed by Congress has authorized a step that some safety advocates say does too little in the way of provision and reduces the level of safety on the highways at the same time. This step is the new allowance of 18-year old residents of Georgia as well as across the nation to obtain their first-class commercial drivers license.
Multiple statistical studies have shown that many U.S. trucking accidents involve younger drivers with minimal experience. Handling a big-rig is not as easy as manning the operational instruments while moving. Inspections are important as are personal observance faculties in delivering cargoes. Even though it is a three-year pilot program, advocates say it is just a matter of time before accident numbers increase.
Another issue naysayers are complaining about is the fact that insurance rates for drivers under 26 years of age are already exorbitant, which makes many shipping companies leery of hiring younger drivers in the first place. Not only is this an increase in company expense per driver, it could also result in expensive liability situations when big rig accidents happen. One of the primary concerns could also be wrongful death punitive damage lawsuits based on inexperienced driver error.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is among the groups who are questioning this decision by Congress, and they along with other groups will be taking a watchful eye of how the program progresses. There are indeed many potential young drivers who have eyed a career in the trucking industry because of pay scale, but everyone who wants to join the ranks of professional truck drivers may not be good candidates. All advocate groups stress that driver experience is crucial in the industry.