Truck Safety Activists Torch New Teen Trucker Program as ‘Profits Over Public Safety’
Washington D.C. — Truck safety activists are accusing trucking stakeholders who support lowering the interstate driving age for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators of placing profits ahead of safety.
In an opinion piece published in the New York Times over the weekend, Joan Claybrook, chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and Russ Swift, co-chair of Parents Against Tired Truckers, called a new teen trucker program “reckless.”
“The trucking industry’s solution of putting teens behind the wheel of 80,000-pound rigs reflects its pursuit of profits over public safety,” Claybrook and Swift wrote. “What’s next? Allowing teens into the cockpits of commercial airlines to address a pilot shortage?”
The program is included in the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure law just signed by President Biden which creates an “Apprenticeship Pilot Program” allowing drivers as young as 18 years of age to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.
Click HERE for what you should know about the teen trucker program.
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) of which Claybrook and Swift are members, has been a vocal critic of lowering the interstate driving age for CMV operators and is warning of serious consequences.
“Teen Truckers will make our roads less safe,” TSC recently Tweeted. “Data shows that teen drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a fatal crash and 3.5 times as likely to be involved in any police reported crash.”
Teen Truckers will make our roads less safe. Data shows that teen drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a fatal crash and 3.5 times as likely to be involved in any police reported crash. Check out our teen trucking fact sheet here: https://t.co/kBAj2cW81C https://t.co/OmENz6sh8s
— TruckSafetyCoalition (@TruckSafetyOrg) November 11, 2021
The teen trucker program was a major win for groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) which have long-advocated for such measures in order to ease the so-called trucker shortage.
In a statement earlier this month, ATA President Chris Spear lauded the new program arguing it will provide an “infusion of highly-trained, younger talent into our workforce.”