Inexperienced truck drivers place all Columbus road users in danger. Drivers who do not have the skill and experience necessary to safely control large, heavy vehicles in all traffic situations can cause accidents, and these accidents cause serious injuries to the victims who are involved.
Unfortunately, inexperience is a common problem among truck drivers in the United States. The trucking industry has a major problem with driver turnover. Long hours, low pay, and other poor working conditions have kept the trucking industry in a near-constant state of hiring.
Transportation companies have introduced a wide variety of hiring and performance incentives in order to address the problem. Now, industry lobbyists have moved for a legislative option. While this proposed law, the DRIVE-Safe Act, would help alleviate hiring woes within the trucking industry, it also raises serious safety concerns.
The Proposed Law
As in many other states, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles allows Ohio drivers to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) at the age of 18. These drivers can operate commercial vehicles within the state, but are not permitted to cross state lines. This is because federal regulations require CDL holders to be 21 years of age before they can do so.
With the support of the trucking industry, two Republican Congressmen have introduced legislation to the House of Representatives to allow CDL holders to cross state lines in commercial vehicles at the age of 18. The Washington Examiner reports that the trucking industry supports this law as a method of increasing the applicant pool for hiring efforts.
Critics, however, question whether young drivers (who are statistically the most likely to be involved in passenger vehicle accidents) can safely operate commercial vehicles across state lines. The introduction of younger truck drivers on the interstate highways of the United States is unlikely to make road use safer.
Ohio Teen Driving Accidents
A brief survey of recent teen driving accidents in Ohio shows the serious dangers all road users face when inexperienced teen drivers get behind the wheel. In Monroe, four teens were injured while driving to their prom. The Dayton Daily News reports that one of the teens suffered life-threatening injuries after being ejected from the vehicle. Preliminary reports suggest that the driver, just 17 years old, veered off the road. She then over-corrected and crashed the car on the other side of the road. A lack of driving experience was likely a key cause of the accident.
In Wapakoneta, a 16-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of an accident which occurred after she failed to stop at a stop sign. According to WHIO, two passengers in the vehicle (both 17 years old) sustained incapacitating injuries in the accident. The driver of the other vehicle was also taken to a local hospital with incapacitating injuries.
Teen drivers can learn safe driving habits. But it takes time, experience, and patience in order to learn to safely operate a vehicle. Allowing teens to cross state lines in fully loaded, heavy commercial vehicles poses many risks to all road users. After any truck accident, a Columbus truck accident attorney can help injury victims protect their legal right to compensation and hold trucking companies responsible for hiring inexperienced or unsafe drivers.