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Apprenticeship Program Will Permit Teens to Drive Semi-Trucks

Semi-trucks teens will be driving

A Louisville truck accident lawyer discusses a new federal apprenticeship

Current law requires truck drivers who cross state lines to be 21 years old, but that's about to change. The federal government is moving forward with a program that will allow teens ages 18-20 to drive trucks outside of their home states.  

There has been a buildup of work for truckers, and the purpose of the apprenticeship program is to help complete some of that work. Those participating in the apprenticeship can cross state lines during 120-hour and 280-hour probationary periods and are required to have an experienced driver in the passenger seat. No more than 3,000 can take part in the training.

After the probationary period, drivers ages 18-20 can drive on their own but must have their performance monitored until they reach age 21.  

According to an article by AP News, the programs will run for up to 3 years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) will have to analyze the safety records of the program and report them to Congress. 

Safety precautions for the apprenticeship  

Many are worried about the safety of these teen drivers and other drivers on the road. Safety advocates say it is ill-advised to have such young teenagers be responsible for these huge rigs. Unlike smaller vehicles on the road, semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The heavier these trucks are, the harder they are to control and the more damage they can cause in an accident.

The trucks used in this program will not be just ordinary trucks. These big rigs will have to have an electronic braking crash mitigation system, a forward-facing video camera, and their speeds cannot reach more than 65 mph. 

The FMCSA must reach out to carriers with excellent safety records to take part in the program, according to the Transportation Department. 

However, it's still concerning that there will be so many inexperienced truckers behind the wheel. Driver inexperience can lead to several major accident risks, including:

  • Speeding
  • Texting and driving
  • Failure to signal
  • False sense of safety
  • Improper braking
  • Following too closely
  • Not leaving enough room for turns

The consequences of truck accidents

Trucking companies must follow many federal standards to make sure the drivers hired are qualified for the job. When drivers and trucking companies take shortcuts to put profits ahead of people, they may be liable for causing a serious truck accident. 

Given the size and weight of semi-trucks, they can cause a major impact in accidents, often causing life-altering injuries such as: 

  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Back/neck injuries 
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Internal organ injuries 
  • Burn injuries 
  • Broken bones 
  • Paralysis 
  • Fatal injuries

Truck accidents can be catastrophic. Get the Whaley Law Firm by your side.

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, we are ready to step in and fight for you. Your recovery can be painful and difficult. Getting justice isn't something you should have to handle alone.

At the Whaley Law Firm, we provide each of our clients with the personalized and individual attention they deserve after an accident. Attorney Aaron Whaley will get to know you so he can create a successful legal strategy that meets your needs and helps you recover the compensation you're entitled to. Put your trust in us. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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