When you pass a semi-truck, it is perfectly normal to feel a bit anxious. After all, weighing as much as 40 tons, tractor-trailers are significantly heavier than your family sedan. It is not difficult to see how a collision with a fully loaded truck may leave you with catastrophic and life-changing injuries.
You do not have to panic, though, as most professional truck drivers have extensive experience behind the wheels of their rigs. That may not always be the case, however.
A trucker shortage
Like in many other industries, there is currently a massive trucker shortage. This means essential goods are taking longer to reach consumers. To alleviate the trucker shortage, the federal government has established a program to allow truckers as young as 18 to drive across state lines.
The new program
According to reporting from CNN, 49 states and the nation’s capital allow those under the age of 21 to apply for commercial driver’s licenses. Until recently, however, these drivers had to remain within a single state. The new program changes this approach.
Now, approved drivers who are younger than 21 can drive interstate routes, provided they follow certain rules. Among other requirements, these rules mandate the young driver be in the truck with a driver who has at least 5 years of experience. This experienced driver also must be at least 26 years old.
Even though the older ride-along driver should be able to mentor his or her younger counterpart, a young trucker may have a greater chance of crashing into your car, truck or SUV. Ultimately, if you suffer an injury in an accident with a young and inexperienced driver, you may be eligible for considerable financial compensation.