One debate that has been tossed around the industry for years is whether young drivers can safely operate trucks and how young drivers impact loss experience. Generally, it has been agreed upon that young drivers bring more risk. While there has been research linking risk and driver age, there hasn’t been much information on the relationship between age and experience.
A recent study conducted by the NSCSTE examined how age and driving experience affect safety and risk for trucking companies. The study compared 9,000 drivers in 6 age groups and 8 driving experience categories.
The findings suggest that experience might be the greater factor in driver risk. In fact, the study states that there is “no safety-based reason not to use younger drivers when structured training, mentoring, and coaching systems are in place.“ Regardless of age, inexperienced drivers had “higher proportions of crash involvement” than more experienced drivers. In fact, “for drivers with seven months to one year of CMV driving experience, crash rates were higher for drivers aged 55 years and older compared to their younger counterparts.”
While age is certainly an important factor to consider, experience might be even more important when managing risk.
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