Silhouetted truck drivers shaking hands


The trucking industry has a huge problem. A sizeable percentage of all truck drivers plan to retire within the next decade. At the same time, young people aren’t interested in becoming truck drivers, and those who do almost always leave the industry in less than a year.

In response to these problems, the trucking industry pushed to significantly change basic training requirements, which lead to an increase in truck accidents over the past five years. Now, a new truck program aims to provide young truck drivers with significantly more training than ever before. But will this new trucking program make the roads safer?

Cause and Effect

The program (created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is called the “Safe Driver Apprenticeship.” Despite the name, the original intention is not to increase driver training; that’s a side effect.

Rather, the apprenticeship allows drivers under 21-years-old to drive across state lines so long as their vehicle has particular safety measures and an experienced truck driver with a record for safe driving in the passenger seat. Before this program, truck drivers under 21 were not allowed to drive across state lines at all, limiting their ability to engage in long-haul trucking.

Training and Safety

Under this new program, young truck drivers are expected to have constant guidance from an experienced driver for a total of 400 hours (or 36, 11-hour workdays). Given that testing for a commercial driver’s license only requires 30-hours of behind-the-wheel training, this new program would provide young drivers 13x more training and would do so in actual traffic situations.

Not only would drivers have more instruction, but they’d be required to pass benchmark exams throughout their apprenticeship. If they successfully pass each exam and reach their 400 hours, they can earn the privilege of unsupervised interstate transit before their 21st birthday.

While it will take some time to see data from this new program, the Safe Driver Apprenticeship raises an important question: Why stop at 21? Why not have every newly-licensed truck driver spend their first 400 hours with an experienced professional? It just might reduce crashes in the long term and make the roads safer for everyone.

When someone is injured or killed in a truck crash, they and their families have a right to pursue justice. If you or someone you love have been injured and need help moving forward, our team is here to help. To discuss your case with an experienced Shreveport truck accident attorney from Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (318) 221-1508 today.

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