In 48 states across the country, someone who is 18 years old can receive their commercial drivers license (CDL), assuming that they can past the required tests. Garbage trucks, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, you name it, they could all potentially have an 18 year old behind the wheel.
What a driver that young cannot do is cross state lines. Drivers must be at least 21 to be an interstate trucker. That is, unless a recently added provision in the six-year highway bill currently being proposed passes into law.
The Senate Commerce Committee added a provision to lower the interstate trucking minimum age to 18 – with mixed reviews.
Advocates of the decrease in age say it only makes sense. If drivers can travel hundreds of miles within their state with a load or to make a delivery, they should also be able to cross state lines.
Opponents disagree and feel that 18 is too young in or out of state. Truckers between the age of 18 and 21 are four to six times likely to get into an accident than truckers older than 21. Insurance companies tend to agree. Some insurance companies even require that all drivers be at least 22 years old.
There are no easy answers. By 2017, we could be facing a shortage of 250,000 truck drivers nationwide as truckers age out and retire while demands for goods continue to increase. Shipping rates are already increasing three to five percent a year. A shortage of trucks on the road could easily bring those costs higher.
If this change passes, are higher insurance costs in the future?
There’s no way to know for sure what lowering the age for interstate truckers could mean for insurance rates, but it’s possible to guess that companies who hire younger drivers could see higher rates. Younger drivers mean higher risks, and higher risks translate into more accidents and insurance claims.
Workers compensation premiums could go up based on the risk associated with younger drivers. Businesses who file big claims will see premiums rise, regardless of the age of the driver. Younger drivers tend to have more accidents on the road.
Premiums are affected by a number of factors. Insurance companies must assess the risks when calculating trucking insurance costs, and the age of a trucker is definitely one to consider for any trucking business. Businesses will need to make hiring decisions with those risks in mind.
At Charlotte Insurance, we’re here to help you with all of your insurance needs. As an independent insurance company, we work with multiple companies to find the best rates for you. If you’re considering hiring younger truckers, let’s talk and find out how that might affect your insurance costs.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Ryan Holst.