Ohio allows CDL holders from the age of 18 to 20 to travel within the state. This is the law for all states except Hawaii. However, a bill introduced back in February 2019 would do away with this restriction and allow all CDL holders to drive interstate. The bill is called the DRIVE-Safe Act.
It proposes to set up an apprenticeship program consisting of probationary periods during which truckers under 21 must complete 400 driving hours, at least 240 of which would be under the supervision of a trucker 21 or older. The CDL holders may then be allowed to drive out of state.
The bill has met with opposition from groups like the Truck Safety Coalition and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The OOIDA has stated that the bill will only harm the trucking industry because it is fighting a mythical driver shortage. The Truck Safety Coalition’s president has argued that teen truckers see a significantly higher rate of crashes than other truckers and that letting them travel where the routes are unfamiliar is dangerous.
Some people are urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to more carefully look into the crash rates for truckers under 21. On the other hand, the American Trucking Association calls the bill responsible and safety-minded.
Regardless of age, truck drivers can cause truck collisions through their own negligence. They may drive drowsy, drunk or distracted or choose to speed or be aggressive. Victims of a negligent trucker who are 50% or less at fault themselves may file a claim and be eligible for damages in this state, but since it can be hard to establish a case alone and then negotiate with a trucking company, they might want a lawyer to assist them.