Fight Continues for Legislation for Younger Truck Drivers
August 06, 2018
Recently, two U.S. Representatives introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act, which proposes to lower the age requirement for obtaining an interstate commercial driver’s license. Proponents of the DRIVE-Safe Act argue that this legislation will address the driver shortage for moving commerce in the United States. Additionally, they claim this legislation will create job opportunities for young workers with proper training as opposed to young Americans accumulating college debt and entering a bleak job market with insufficient training.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Fights Back
Opponents, like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), assert that this legislation will be damaging to road safety. They also claim it will negatively impact individuals aspiring to enter the trucking industry as professional drivers, as supporters of this legislation simply want to keep the wages low. As more inexperienced drivers enter the workforce, there is a higher chance of truck accidents happening on the roads.
The OOIDA has opposed similar legislation to lower the driving age of interstate commercial drivers for decades. Accordingly, it was no surprise when the OOIDA and other opposing stakeholders sent a signed letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure asserting their claims against this proposed legislation.
Specifically, the groups are opposed to two specific bills that would allow teenagers to drive large trucks:
- The DRIVE-Safe Act
- The Waiving Hindrances to Economic Enterprise and Labor Act
Safety is Important
Supporters of the DRIVE-Safe Act are confident they will quickly build support for this legislation. However, there is still a heavy concern for safety on the roads, considering young, inexperienced drivers will be getting behind the wheel of large trucks. OOIDA also included accident statistics in their letter to raise concerns and help make safety a priority:
- Intrastate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers under the age of 19 are four times more likely to experience fatal accidents
- CMV drivers who are 19 to 20 years of age are six times more likely to experience fatal accidents
- Previous failed attempts to lower the age to 18 occurred in 2001 and there have been no changes or hindrances due to shortages since that time
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