Will 18 year olds drive trucks?  Experts point to “deficiencies” in the brain

The ETSC, i.e. the European Transport Safety Board, has appealed to the transport ministers of member states regarding the new EU directive on driving licences. ETSC strongly protests the relaxation of age requirements for professional drivers. The council opposes the idea of ​​putting 18-year-olds behind the wheel of trucks.

The proposal to lower the minimum age for truck drivers from 21 to 18 years is included in the proposal to review EU regulations (the planned new fourth directive on driving licences). Interestingly, the European Commission’s idea forms part of a broader ‘road safety package’. The European Transport Safety Board has strongly protested against this solution and has just sent an open letter to EU ministers.

Currently, in five EU countries, young people aged 18 can, under certain conditions, work as drivers for “heavy” ground transport. In other Member States, the minimum age required to apply for a Class C or C+E driving licence is 21 years. Harmonizing EU regulations in this area actually means lowering the “barrier” and allowing even 17-year-olds to take courses to obtain a driver’s license (for example, in Poland, the driving course itself can be started 3 months before reaching the age Legally required).
The ETSC notes, among other things: According to research by the German Insurance Association (GDV), which indicates that truck drivers aged 18-20 caused a significantly higher number of collisions resulting in bodily injury than the number of registered driving licenses For this age group compared to all other truck age groups. This percentage decreases significantly until the age of 24 years and remains constant among adults and older age groups

The Council notes that between the ages of 15 and 25, “young people are exposed to major biological and social changes.”

This includes: o The frontal lobe, which matures by the mid-twenties and includes areas associated with emotion control, impulsivity, future thinking and risk assessment – ​​the most important from the point of view of driving behaviour.

In their opinion, this is why young people, as road users, tend to engage in risky behaviour, and are unlikely to appreciate the risks they take.

ESTC also refers to data from the Polish Institute of Motor Transport. In Poland, data show that the proportion of truck and bus drivers aged 18-24 in crashes, in proportion to the number of driving licenses they hold in this age group, is significantly higher compared to other age groups and decreases with increasing driver age. . According to 2019-2020 data, for every 10,000 driving licenses, 9 fatal accidents occurred among drivers under the age of 24. For comparison, in the age group 25-34 years, 3 accidents occurred, and the average for drivers older than 35 years was less than 2 fatal accidents.
We would like to remind you that in order to apply for a Class C driving license in Poland, you must be over 21 years of age. However, there is an exception to this rule in the form of completing an initial qualification course. With these qualifications, anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a Class C driving licence

The proposal to lower age requirements for professional driver candidates is the result of pressure from the transportation industry, which has been understaffed for years. Data from the International Road Transport Union (IRU) show that the average age of a truck driver on the Old Continent is already over 50 years. This means that the entire EU economy depends to a large extent on people who are nearing the end of their professional activity. The lowering of the EU recommendations regarding the minimum age is intended to serve as a signal to young people entering the labor market and deciding on their career path.

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