In Kentucky, individuals as young as 18 can obtain a CDL for the purposes of intrastate travel, but they cannot engage in interstate travel under the age of 21. All states except Hawaii hold a similar law. However, a bill was introduced in February 2019 that would allow truckers under 21 to travel out of state. A hearing was held in February 2020 to discuss the concerns with this bill.
Known as the DRIVE-Safe Act, the bipartisan bill proposes a probationary period for truckers under 21 before they begin interstate travel. They would be required to complete 400 hours of driving, and a minimum of 240 of these hours would have to be accompanied by another truck driver 21 or older.
The concerns over this are numerous. The president of the Truck Safety Coalition presented a written testimony stating that accident rates among truckers aged 18 to 20 are significantly higher than among other truckers. If these inexperienced truckers are sent out to unfamiliar states, that rate may increase.
The executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association argued that the bill is founded on a myth: namely, that there is a driver shortage. The president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance focused on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the failure of its regulatory activity.
As for those who are involved in truck collisions and who find out that the trucker was at fault, these proposed changes do not affect their case. Of course, if the bill passes and young truckers drive during a probationary period, this may make their status with the company ambiguous and complicate legal matters. The important thing, though, is determining fault and striving for a fair amount in compensation from the responsible party. Victims may hire a lawyer for these steps.