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Proposal to have truckers under 21 drive interstate is concerning

Georgia, like all states with the exception of Hawaii, permits drivers 18 and older to obtain a CDL. CDL holders under 21 can only travel intrastate. Back in February 2019, though, a bill was introduced that may make interstate driving open to all truckers. The bill is called the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act.

The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety held a hearing in February 2020 regarding issues in the trucking industry, and this bill was, as one might expect, the most prominent among them. Supporters of the bill include the CEO of the American Trucking Association. On the opposition were spokesmen for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Truck Safety Coalition.

The president of the latter said that truckers under 21 have a higher crash rate and that interstate travel, where the routes are unfamiliar, will only make things worse. The executive vice president of the OOIDA, for his part, said that the bill is supporting a myth that the industry is experiencing a driver shortage.

The bill does set up a probationary period for truckers under 21 before they start to travel interstate. During this period, these young drivers would be required to travel 400 hours with at least 240 of those hours accompanied by another trucker 21 or older.

Regardless of their age, truckers are known to become negligent behind the wheel. Distracted, drunk and drowsy driving on the part of truckers have been to blame for a significant number of truck crashes, and these have led to many personal injury claims. Victims who believe they are eligible for damages under personal injury law may want an attorney to assess their case before anything else. They might hire the attorney to help them negotiate with the trucking company, too.

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