How Will Lower Age Requirements for Truckers Impact Road Safety?
The pandemic caused a severe supply chain bottleneck in America’s ports. To mitigate the supply chain crisis, the federal government enacted a new bill allowing people 18 and older to get commercial driver’s licenses to help fill the void in the trucking industry.
On the heels of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, it’s essential to understand the safety implications of teen truckers, including what kind of injuries truck accidents commonly cause and who is liable for such an accident.
If you’re injured in a truck accident with a young truck driver, contact Cofman Townsley to help you navigate your case and pursue maximum compensation.
Teen drivers cause more accidents than any other age group. While most accidents involving teen drivers happen within months of getting a license, the rate is still high among 18 to 20-year-olds. The new federal program allows drivers 18 to 20 years old to drive across state lines, increasing their hours behind the wheel of commercial vehicles.
Several factors increase the risk for teen drivers, including inexperience, speeding, driving on nights and weekends, and driving while drowsy. The federal changes and these factors may cause an increase in truck accidents.
Teenage drivers underestimate or fail to recognize dangerous situations more frequently than older drivers. They also make more critical decision errors that lead to severe crashes.
Driving at night poses more risk for all drivers but is significantly more dangerous for teen drivers. One survey indicates that teen drivers aged 16-19 had three times the risk of being involved in a fatal nighttime crash than drivers aged 30-59 per mile driven.
In 2019, 40% of fatal accidents involving teens 13-19 happened between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Teen drivers speed more often than older drivers and leave less room between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. Speeding was a factor in fatal accidents involving teenagers 31% of the time for males and 17% for females in 2019.
Drowsy driving impairs a driver’s alertness, attention, reaction time, judgment, and decision-making abilities. Teens require more sleep than adults and may be less aware of becoming drowsy. 50% of people involved in crashes due to drowsy driving are under 25.
Teens are more likely to text while driving, talk on the phone, change radio stations, or eat and drink behind the wheel than older drivers. These distractions cause decreased reaction time and reduce the driver’s awareness of current road conditions and traffic.
Every year, approximately 130,000 people suffer injuries in truck accidents. The occupants of passenger vehicles that collide with trucks have a more significant risk of severe injuries than if they collide with another car. The size and speed of the truck directly impact the risk of injury.
Types of injuries common in a truck vs. car collision include:
- Spinal injuries
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
All these injuries can have lifelong effects on your health and well-being.
In accidents where a truck driver is an at-fault party, the trucking company is liable if the driver is an employee. Trucking companies often claim their drivers are independent contractors to avoid liability, but an excellent personal injury attorney can determine the truth.
If the company controls routes, cargo, or driving hours, the driver should be considered an employee, and the company can be held liable for the accident.
Some independently contracted truck drivers own their trucks and work for several trucking companies. If the trucking company doesn’t own the truck, the truck owner may be liable if mechanical failure causes the accident.
If improper loading contributes to the accident, you can hold the people who loaded the cargo responsible. Failure to balance a load or secure cargo for transport can cause trailer sway, which sometimes causes accidents.
Manufacturers of trucks, trailers, and tires may be liable if defective materials or poor workmanship causes the crash. For example, the tread separating from a tire and hitting your windshield or a weld breaking on a trailer, releasing the cargo, and causing you to crash would mean the tire or trailer manufacturer could be held liable.
Personal injury lawyers have extensive experience investigating crashes by interviewing witnesses, examining the documentation from the accident scene and medical records, and calling on experts to determine liability. They know how to calculate a fair settlement and fight for your rights to financial compensation.
The legal team at Cofman Townsley has over four decades of experience fighting to get clients compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and mental suffering. We value relationships based on trust and offer our clients personal attention to build strong injury claims. We work hard to maximize the compensation you get for your accident.
Contact the Missouri truck crash lawyers at Cofman Townsley today for your free consultation.