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Should there be a mandatory retirement age for truck drivers?

Driver fatigue is a major cause of catastrophic truck crashes. Michigan attorney Terry Coleman suggests that the correlation of fatigue, slow reaction time and aging should lead to imposing a mandatory retirement for truck drivers at age 65, the same age at which airline pilots are required to retire. While I share the concern for trucking safety, I respectfully disagree with the conclusion.

Having known individuals who retained their full strength and faculties to age 80 and beyond, and others who were debilitated at 45, I am increasingly skeptical of mandatory retirement ages in any field. Rather, I would favor annual testing of key functions – vision, hearing, reaction time, etc. – beginning at perhaps age 60 or 65.

If an individual has the physical and mental ability to working productively and safely, he or she should not be restrained by an arbitrary age limit. And if a younger person is not capable, he or she should not be piloting an 80,000 pound vehicle through highway traffic.

Ken Shigley is a Georgia trial lawyer focused on representation of plaintiffs in interstate and intrastate motor carrier (truck and bus) crashes. He is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is actively involved in the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. He is a former chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, co-sponsored by the Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina Trial Lawyers Associations. Named a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine) and one of the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), he frequently speaks on trucking litigation topics at national continuing legal education programs. Mr. Shigley is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia,.

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