Do You Trust Idaho Teenagers to Drive Big Rigs Across State Lines?
We all have stories concerning teenagers. What does every teenager covet? Most teenagers count the days from beginning driver's ed to their learners permit to finally getting to drive a car independently. Would you support a measure that would allow teenagers to drive tracker trailers in Idaho and across state lines?
Due to the nationwide truck driver shortage, we could eventually see teenage truck drivers hauling loads from Ontario to Mountain Home. Currently, you have to be over twenty-one years of age to be eligible to drive a big rig across state lines. However, the Biden Administration has developed a new program that would allow eighteen to twenty years olds the chance to drive commercially across state lines.
The move has the support of the influential American Truckers Associations, the nation's largest trade organization for the trucking industry. They detail their praise for the action in a release from last year. "ATA supports FMCSA's efforts to expand on its current work examining younger commercial drivers," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Right now, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old drivers are driving trucks in the United States. What these pilot programs will do is set out a path for these drivers to fully participate in our industry by allowing them to drive interstate."
How does Idaho teen drivers rate in vehicle collisions? AAA reports Idaho teens rank twenty third 'in the country for most per-capita crash fatalities involving teen drivers.' Another alarming statistic courtesy of KVTM amplifies the dangers of teens driving cars, never mind big semi-trucks. 'In 2020, 69% of those deaths were individuals under the age of 21, whether passengers in the teen driver's vehicle or another vehicle involved.'
The challenge for this new program in Idaho and across the country will be to train teen truck drivers properly. The proposal allows the teens to drive with an experienced trucker for 120 hours -280 hours of probationary time, says ABC. If they pass the program, they can operate independently with companies monitoring their driving electronically.
So the next time you're next to a big rig, you could be seeing a nineteen-year-old driver looking back at you. We'd like to know what you think and would Idaho teens driving tractor-trailers alarm you? Please take a moment to vote in our poll below.