It would be nice to think that the most dangerous vehicles on the road had the most experienced drivers behind the wheel. That is how most things work – the biggest responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the most experienced staff. Yet, new legislation on the trucking industry flies in the face of this. Now you can start driving a truck when you are just 18 years old.
Truck crashes killed almost 5,000 people in 2020, so why has the government done something that will probably increase fatalities? The reason is that there are not enough older people who want to drive trucks.
Why don’t older people want to drive trucks?
There are two ways of addressing a problem. You deal with the issues behind it or sidestep them altogether. Many consider reducing the minimum age to 18 does nothing to address the real problem. It merely allows trucking companies to get around it.
Here are some of the reasons for the truck driver shortage:
- Long hours and poor pay: As people get families, the thought of spending days away from them each month becomes less desirable. If the pay is also lousy, there is little reason to continue when they can find an easier job for similar money that allows them to see their kids grow up.
- Poor conditions: Drivers often struggle to find safe places to stop and rest for the night. Drivers can also struggle to find healthy food along the way, forcing them to eat fast food that damages their health.
- Pressure: Trucking companies and the companies that rely on them for deliveries can place immense pressure on drivers to deliver to an unrealistic schedule.
You will likely need expensive medical treatment if a truck crashes into you. There are lots of things to investigate to get the compensation you need. For example, did the trucking company give the driver enough training or assessment before letting them loose on the road? Did they push them too hard? Getting legal help to do this will be crucial to getting the full compensation you are entitled to.