Nevada and all other states with the exception of Hawaii allow individuals as young as 18 to obtain a CDL for intrastate travel, opening the possibility for interstate travel when they turn 21. Now, a bipartisan bill introduced in February 2019 is proposing that even truckers under 21 be allowed to travel interstate.
In February 2020, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety held a hearing to explore the concerns arising from the bill. Though the bill would set up a probationary period where CDL holders under 21 complete 400 hours of driving, at least 240 of them with another driver 21 or older, this may not be enough to ensure safety.
One panelist, the president of the Truck Safety Coalition, stated that crash rates are higher among those truckers aged 18 to 20 and that sending them out of state to travel unfamiliar routes will only worsen matters. Another panelist, the executive vice president for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said that the bill is founded on the myth that there is a shortage of truckers.
Many are pushing for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to more carefully maintain and update its regulations. Others advocate more funding for well-designed infrastructure as the way to improving safety policies for the trucking industry.
When truck crashes occur, though, the only thing that begins to matter is determining fault. Trucking companies may do all they can to uphold federal regulations, but truckers themselves, whatever their age, can choose to act negligently behind the wheel. Those who are seriously injured in a truck crash can be eligible for compensation, but since determining fault and negotiating for a settlement are difficult matters, they may want to hire a lawyer. The lawyer might litigate if a settlement is not reached.