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Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in this country. According to national statistics, approximately 2,500 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are killed in crashes each year, and another 221,000 are injured. For many, the injuries they receive are devastating.

According to crash survey conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, almost two-thirds of teen driver wrecks are not from reckless driving like speeding or driving under the influence. Instead, the majority of crashes are a result of these inexperienced driver mistakes: misjudging driving conditions, and engaging in distracted driving behaviors, and not scanning the road.

 

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All of these studies and statistics are a clear indication that teen drivers are the highest-risk vehicle operators across the country. Yet, despite all of this data, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently considering implementing a pilot program that would allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 19 to operate commercial trucks interstate.

Currently, the law states that only drivers who are 21 years or older are allowed to operate interstate commercial trucks, but a nationwide shortage of qualified drivers have led the trucking industry and FMCSA to examine other options to attract drivers. It is estimated that there is a shortage of more than 60,000 drivers and that number is projected to spike to 178,000 by 2024.

Recently, the FMCSA has announced that it is seeking public comment about a proposed pilot program that would allow teenage truck drivers to travel the nation’s roads. This initiative would build on the Commercial Driver Pilot Program the agency implemented a year ago that allows approximately 200 18- to 20-year-olds who have military training to drive large trucks interstate. The proposed expansion would allow teens without formal training to operate these massive vehicles.

The FMSCA is anticipating feedback from both sides of the argument, including trucking companies, truck industry advocates and lobbyists embracing the proposal, while unions, safety groups, and independent operators argue against. Although there is a driver shortage, those against the proposal say that any consideration of changing the minimum age for truck drivers should be an increase, not a decrease.

Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in any type of truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Truck accident cases can be complex and it is not uncommon for there to be multiple at-fault parties who are responsible for the payment of financial damages you may be entitled to for your injuries. Our personal injury firm has successfully represented many injured victims and their families and we are happy to meet with you and offer legal guidance on what the best options may be for your circumstances.

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