The DRIVE-Safe Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in February 2019, has raised a controversy among truck fleet owners in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., not to mention various groups like the Truck Safety Coalition and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association. The bill proposes to end the restriction, which holds in all states except Hawaii, that CDL holders under 21 only drive intrastate.
Before these truckers can drive interstate, they would, according to the bill, undergo an apprenticeship program where they complete two probationary periods of 400 driving hours each. A sizeable portion of these hours (at least 240) are to be under the supervision of another CDL holder at least 21 years old.
The various concerns over this bill were expressed in a February 2020 hearing held by the U.S> Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety. One concern was that truckers aged 18 to 20 see an alarmingly higher rate of crashes than other truckers do and that traveling out of state can only wind up leading to more crashes.
The OOIDA argued that lawmakers have bought into the myth of a driver shortage. The OOIDA’s president stated that any measures intended to fight this shortage will only harm the trucking industry by not addressing the problems that it actually has to face.
Whether or not the bill passes, there is one problem that no industry will ever be free from, and that’s negligence. Truckers are just as liable as other drivers to engage in distracted, drowsy, drunk, drugged or aggressive driving. When they cause truck accidents, then their trucking companies may open themselves up to a personal injury claim from the other side. In this state, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as they are 50% or less at fault. A lawyer may help victims file a strong claim.