Under North Carolina law, those with a commercial driver’s license cannot travel out of state if they are between the ages of 18 and 20. Things may change, though, if a certain federal bill that was introduced in February 2019 is passed. Called the DRIVE-Safe Act, it proposes to let truckers under 21 drive interstate after completing an apprenticeship program.
As part of the program, CDL holders under 21 would be required to pass through two probationary periods of 400 driving hours each. A minimum of 240 of these hours would have to be accompanied by another CDL holder at least 21 years of age. The logic behind the bill is that if teen truckers can travel hundreds of miles in the same state, they should be allowed to travel a similar or shorter distance to another state.
However, during a hearing convened by the Senate Commerce Transportation and Safety Subcommittee, some groups argued that the bill will put teen truckers in danger. These drivers are inexperienced, and traveling in states that are unfamiliar to them will only raise their already high risk for crashes. Others argue that the bill is unnecessary because the impetus for it, a driver shortage in the trucking industry, has no basis in reality.
Of course, trucking companies and legislators can only do so much to prevent commercial truck crashes. It is up to truckers themselves whether they want to act in a negligent manner on the road, and they cannot necessarily blame their actions on unfamiliar roads, bad weather or anything else external. Victims of negligence, for their part, may want to hire an attorney who works in truck accident law to see how much they might be eligible for in monetary and non-monetary damages.