Bill would allow people under 21 to drive 18-wheelers interstate

Bill would allow people under 21 to drive 18-wheelers interstate

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Large trucks are common on the Colorado roads. An accident between passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers can cause catastrophic injuries and death. Relying on government oversight to ensure that truck companies adhere to the rules for safety might seem wise. However, some rule changes sow concern. Such is the case with the bill that would allow drivers under the age of 21 to drive commercial vehicles across state lines.

The new bill is touted as a way to improve safety. It would treat drivers younger than 21 as apprentices. They would have 400 hours of probationary driving spread over two time-periods. Of those, 240 hours would include commercial driving with a driver who is 21 or older. Currently, every state but one allows drivers 18 and older to have a commercial license to travel interstate. Hawaii is the exception.

There are trucking entities that oppose the bill. They say that the main idea behind the bill is that there is a shortage of truck drivers. According to them, there is no such shortage. One senator cited accident statistics in opposing the bill, saying that the accident rates for people 18 to 20 is much higher than for older drivers. Another issue is seniority and picking preferred routes. Since younger drivers would have less time on the job, they would get longer routes and be more vulnerable to crashes due to unfamiliarity and inexperience.

Any auto accident can lead to a driver or family member injured with the accompanying medical costs and long-term problems. If there is a fatality, there will be a host of other concerns. For those who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a serious accident with a truck, having legal advice may be needed to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.