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Commercial trucking trend: NHTSA cites age-related concerns

Commercial truck drivers are a consistent focus of federal safety regulators’ scrutiny, with probes constantly being conducted into matters ranging from their work schedules and sleep patterns to their overall health and use of log books.

That makes sense, of course, with there being a legitimate need to ensure that the trucking industry is safe. Millions of tractor trailers, huge 18-wheel rigs and other large commercial vehicles ply national and state roadways every second of every day, with truck accidents being a potential and actual reality at all times. Ohio is certainly no exception to that risk and to fatal crashes involving trucks that frequently occur.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researchers are constantly focused on the commercial trucking industry, and they are now adding this new item to their list of stated concerns: age.

Here’s why. Reportedly, only about 17 percent of all commercial truckers are 35 years or younger. That statistic manifestly indicates an aging trucker population, which the NHTSA marks as a concern for further study.

As noted by a recent media article addressing the subject, research indicates that older truckers “may be at a higher fatality risk on the highway” despite the widely accepted view that older motorists generally “are typically wiser and safer.”

A writer for the publication Fleet Owner, which addresses topics relevant to the commercial truck industry, says that the NHTSA’s noted concern with age-related conditions -- both physical and mental -- could likely lead to the imminent issuance of age-related guidelines by the administration.

The NHTSA’s focus on aging motorists also embraces the general driving public, in addition to commercial truckers. The agency notes that drivers 65 and older have increased by 20 percent over the past decade.

Source: Fleet Owner, "Speed and age high on NHTSA's radar," Sean Kilcarr, Dec. 16, 2013

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