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Millions Hit the Roads this Labor Day Weekend as New Fears of 18 year olds Driving Tractor Trailers Crop Up

Author: Portner & Shure

With gas prices the lowest they have been for a Labor Day Weekend in several years, AAA predicts the highest travel volume in 7 years. This year, drivers only have to worry about the normal dangers on the road: distracted drivers, speeders, tailgaters, drunk drivers, and sleepy truck drivers. But this time next year, drivers might have to worry about 18-year-olds driving tractor-trailers on interstate highways.

The trucking industry is currently lobbying on Capitol Hill to get legislation passed that would allow longer trucks (33 feet long instead of 28 feet) and lower the minimum age of commercial truck drivers who drive across state lines to 18. Tractor trailers and other large trucks are already dangerous on the road with current rules and regulations in place. Current problems with truck drivers include falling asleep behind the wheel, speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving. Research has shown that on average, large trucks are involved in about 10 fatal crashes every day nationwide. The number of fatal truck accidents has steadily increased each of the last 6 years. In these, horrific accidents, it is not usually the truck driver who dies, but instead the occupant/s in the smaller vehicle.

Lowering the minimum driving age for commercial truck driving across state lines to 18 would certainly lead to a substantial increase in deadly accidents on highways across the country. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 are involved in twice as many fatal car accidents than drivers 21 and over. The risks involved with driving a car do not even compare to the risks and difficulty level of driving an 18-wheeler tractor trailer. State laws already allow 18-year-old drivers to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses, however, they are not permitted to drive commercial vehicles across state lines due to a federal ban. Numerous studies have proven year after year that young drivers under the age of 21 are more likely to speed and engage in risky driving behavior, such as driving when tired.

If you or a family member have been injured or killed in a truck accident and would like to consult an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney for free, contact our office at (855) 954-4141 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Tysons Corner or throughout Virginia or visit us online.

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