When you think about the trucks on the road, what makes you think of a good driver? Experience trumps age, according to a new study in truck safety.
Age does have an impact on the risk of driving a commercial vehicle and crashing, but it has been found that experience plays a larger role in mitigating risk overall. This was found in a study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence.
The study highlighted the importance of experience, rather than age, when deciding on who would be a safe driver. Inexperienced drivers have the most crashes, that is true. However, when drivers have comparable levels of experience (seven months to a year of commercial driving experience) drivers 55 years of age and older crash more often than younger drivers.
Since there is a truck driver shortage in America, there have been talks about lowering the age of interstate CMV drivers below the current age restriction of 21. Some refused based on the idea that younger drivers would be more dangerous than older drivers, but this study does not prove that point.
The president of at least one trucking company admits that her company intentionally brings on younger drivers. She states that the drivers under 30 years of age are less likely to have incidents than drivers 45-years-old and older. Experience behind the wheel and good training is the best teacher, based on the study’s results.
All the experience in the world may still not prevent a truck driver’s mistakes. If you’re hit by a truck, that driver and their company may still be liable for any injuries you suffer.