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Are older commercial truck drivers a danger on the roads?

Many people have heard about the common dangers associated with commercial trucks. These include drivers who are working with little sleep and trucks that haven't properly been maintained. However, there's another potential danger -- the increase in senior and even elderly drivers.

Trucking companies are in need of more employees, while many seniors need some extra income and benefits in their retirement years. Those converging factors have led to a rise in drivers in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s.

There are no regulations to prevent companies from hiring older drivers. Back in the 1990s, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration acknowledged that stamina and reaction time among older truck drivers were issues. As an official with the NHTSA put it, action to restrict hiring based on age "can result in a lot of political backlash."

In fact, trucking schools have been actively recruiting senior drivers. As long as they pass the physical exam and "are physically able to get behind that wheel and drive that truck," according to one recruiter, they're able to train to be commercial drivers. There's no mandatory retirement age, as there is for pilots. A spokesperson for an independent trucking association asserts that "the greater majority of truck-related crashes are not caused by truckers, but are instead caused by other drivers."

If you're involved in an accident with a truck, if the driver is determined to be at fault, regardless of his or her age, you should look into your options for seeking legal recourse. Not only the driver, but the company that owns the truck and possibly other entities may be able to be held liable for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

Source: CBS News, "Are older commercial truck drivers causing more danger on nation's highways?," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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