New Jersey allows drivers as young as 18 to obtain a CDL, but it limits those CDL holders under the age of 21 to travel within the state. The same goes for all states with the exception of Hawaii. Now, a bill has been introduced that may do away with this limitation and allow all truckers to travel interstate. A hearing held in February 2020 has explored the concerns with this bill.
The bill, known as the DRIVE-Safe Act, was introduced in February 2019. It specifies that truckers under 21 would undergo a probationary period before being allowed to drive interstate. This period ends once they complete 400 hours of driving, at least 240 of which are to be accompanied by another CDL holder at least 21 years of age.
Despite this precaution, there are concerns that the proposal is not safety-minded. At the hearing, the president of the Truck Safety Coalition cited various studies showing how crash rates are higher among teen truckers. He argued that letting them travel into other states with which they are unfamiliar will only raise those rates.
Another opponent focused on how legislators hope to address the driver shortage. He claimed that the driver shortage is a myth and that any measures meant to address this will wind up harming the trucking industry.
Regardless of how this bill, if passed, will affect the number of truck crashes, there is still the question of negligence. What never changes is that drivers of all ages and levels of experience can be guilty of negligence. When a negligent trucker causes a crash, those who incur severe injuries may be able to file a third-party insurance claim. They might have a lawyer evaluate the case. If such a claim is possible, the lawyer may strive for a fair settlement.