How the DRIVE-Safe Act Might Affect Trucking Safety

Truck driving on highway

What is the DRIVE-Safe Act?

The trucking industry has been understaffed in recent years. Many driver positions have been left vacant, with no one able or willing to fill them. The DRIVE-Safe Act hopes to counteract this by giving younger drivers the opportunity to fill those positions.

The current legislation in 49 states allows for individuals 18-21 to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and use it within the state. Under the new DRIVE-Safe Act legislation, CDL holders aged 18-21 will be allowed to travel across state lines using their license. However, first, they must complete an apprenticeship program.

DRIVE-Safe Apprenticeship

The components of the apprenticeship are:

● The driver must complete at least 400 hours of training

● The driver must be accompanied by an experienced driver throughout the training

● The driver can only drive trucks with the latest safety technology

Many truck drivers and companies are in support of this, as it provides significantly more training than what an older driver would receive.

Still, others have cause for concern.

Dangers of the DRIVE-Safe Act

There is a reason why car rental companies charge an extra fee for drivers under 25 - driver inexperience is one of the biggest risk factors on the road. Eighteen-21-year-old CDL holders are no exception. It takes time and experience to learn how to operate a vehicle, identify and avoid hazards, and ultimately be a safe driver.

Here’s a fact: drivers ages 16-19 have a 4x higher crash rate than those who are 20 or older.

From a biological standpoint, complex cognitive behavior and decision-making functions are not fully developed in our brains until we reach our mid-20s. This is cause for concern as younger truck drivers are responsible for taking quick, safe actions to avoid collisions.

While the DRIVE-Safe Act may provide greater employment opportunities for young CDL holders, it could come at the cost of increased accidents, injuries, and deaths.

Alabama Truck Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a truck accident, you deserve compensation. At Cunningham Bounds, our team will fight for justice alongside you. We offer free case consultations, so there is no risk in getting started. Give us a call at (844) 417-0930 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.