California allows drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license as young as 18, but at the same time, it limits all truckers under 21 to intrastate travel. You probably have a lot of concerns when it comes to safety on the road, so it may surprise you to hear that a bill has been introduced that would get rid of this restriction and let even teen truckers travel out of state.
The DRIVE-Safe Act
This bipartisan bill, called the DRIVE-Safe Act and introduced back in February 2019, proposes to have truckers under 21 undergo two probationary periods where they must complete 400 driving hours. At least 240 of these hours would be accompanied by a fellow truck driver 21 or older.
The logic behind the bill is that if teen truckers can drive hundreds of miles in the same state, they should be allowed to drive a similar, or shorter, distance interstate. Some groups, though, are opposing the legislation.
Hearing held about the bill
The U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety held a hearing in February 2020 that was centered on the bill. Several panelists presented their arguments against the bill. For example, the Truck Safety Coalition’s president stated that truckers aged 18 to 20 see a much higher crash rate than other truckers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association argued that the bill is fighting a problem that does not really exist: namely, a driver shortage. Any measures meant to address what is a myth may only hurt the trucking industry more.
Filing a claim after a truck crash
Perhaps you suffered serious injuries at the hands of a truck driver. Regardless of a driver’s age or level of experience, each one has a responsibility to keep others on the road reasonably safe. Under personal injury law, you can pursue a claim against the trucker if there is clear evidence of failure to uphold this responsibility: in other words, negligence. You may want to hire a lawyer for the filing process, one who keeps up to date on trends in law and offers personal attention.