Residents of Grand Rapids and other areas of Michigan as well as other parts of the country may want to learn more about a recent development regarding trucking. Past requirements were that drivers must meet the age of 21 before receiving permission to be a trucker. However, there are new changes to this law.
According to Claims Journal, President Biden signed an infrastructure bill that would allow drivers as young as 18 years of age to take to the roads as truckers. It is a three-year pilot program that will help alleviate the shortage of drivers to meet industry demands.
Lack of drivers affecting economy
The shortage of drivers has sent ripples through the economy. The result is a backup at ports and issues with the supply chain. It is especially noted that this affects holiday shopping. Pressure is mounting to ease federal requirements to get more drivers on the road.
More truck drivers bring up other safety issues
There is the fear that more drivers, especially young ones or teens, will add to issues of safety. Some want to relax the driving regulations as well, keeping drivers on the road for longer shifts.
Lowering the age limits for drivers seems to be a reasonable answer to the truck driver shortage, but opponents think that it will cause more commercial truck accidents. However, drivers of 18 years of age must complete 400 hours of time on duty, before they have permission to drive across state lines.
Safety advocates have concerns
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that teen drivers are four times as likely to crash as drivers who are 20 years old and older. This is per mile driven. Lowering the driving age would put more risk-prone teens behind the wheel of dangerous vehicles such as trucks, as teens have a higher fatal crash rate.
Lowering the age for truckers is a way to meet the trucking shortage. On the other hand, some feel that teen truck drivers are riskier truck drivers.