The shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers working in the logistics industry has prompted a new authorization from Congress that would allow drivers as young as 18 to man big-rigs in order to meet delivery demand, but this is not necessarily acceptable for some safety advocate groups across the nation. The truck accident rate in states like Illinois is already too high according to many advocacy groups, and the opponents of the concept say this will make a bad situation even worse in both the short and long run. It could alleviate some of the supply chain breakdown, but it may not be worth the risk.
More than a commercial driver issue
Detractors claim the move will have little impact on alleviating supply chain issues and only lead to more dangerous highways for everyone on the road. Many commercial vehicle accidents are primarily caused by other inexperienced drivers, but truckers can also be liable when the driver does not respond to other motorists driving in an unsafe manner.
Employer reluctance to hire
The fact that 18-year old drivers would be allowed to hold a first-class CDL authorization does not necessarily mean trucking companies would be willing to employ them. Insurance rates are very high for those current license holders under age 25, and those even younger would require even higher rates. Statistics have historically shown that inexperienced drivers are commonly involved in truck accidents.
Possibly the best news associated with this new authorization is the fact that most commercial truckers get their license through schooling and apprentice programs by companies who are willing to place them. The current supply line issues will not be repaired in a short time frame, but this could help in the long run with new drivers on the road while older drivers retire.