Republican senators think it’s a good decision to lower the semi-truck driving age from 21 to 18. This idea is not new. Lowering the legal age for truck drivers has been proposed a few times already but it seems like now the trucking industry stands in need of more drivers even more than ever.
Teenagers can drive big rigs (Class 8 commercial trucks) within their state borders. The new bill would let them work in other states making these young people professional interstate truck drivers.
The idea was already brought up ten years ago. It was rejected as the public commented against it more than clearly.
This time the bill is supposed to allow neighboring states join together in ‘compacts’ who would lower the age to 18 for trips in these states. A compact can have any number of states. Four years later there would be a study to analyze teen drivers’ safety versus older ones’ safety.
The American Trucking Association says that they need 100,000 new truck drivers every year over next ten years to make the industry run normally. They’re currently 30,000 to 40,000 candidates short. Therefore the industry supports the new bill.
Those who are against the bill talk about the lack of needed experience of teenage drivers. The statistics of car crashes involving young drivers speak for themselves. Moreover, the opposition says, the trucking industry can attract more candidates with better salaries and working conditions.
There’s a good chance republican senators will face public being against lowering legal truck driving age again. But how will the industry cope with the shortage of candidates? This only the future will reveal.
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That’s a contentious one. On one hand, when American Trucking Association says that shortage of truck drivers is serious, we have to give them that. But the opposing point of view also has some merits. The job of running a truck day in and day out needs a lot of patience, experience and discipline, and those qualities are certainly tough to find in majority of teenagers. The only answer to this can be, that those teens who will apply to work as truckers will obviously be required to go through rigorous training (which shall impart some good doses of patience and discipline in them) before they can be handed over the keys of those biggies.
Overall, I’m in favor of lowering the semi-truck driving age from 21 to 18.
I think we have delayed it for far too long. The minimum legal age for driving trucks should have been lowered much earlier. Not only will this give employment to so many young people, but it will also take care of the shortage of drivers which the industry is facing right now, and help the country move forward.