Young truckies insurance dilemma
FINDING insurance will be the hardest battle for young Queenslander truck driver Beau Linsley.
The 20-year-old has been driving semi trailers for nine months now and his previous insurance company has pulled the pin on his cover.
"It's tough to get your foot in the door, being a young bloke," he told Big Rigs this week.
The Laidley-based man has wanted to drive trucks ever since he was just a "kid".
"I've wanted to be a truck driver since I was a kid. I love trucks," he said.
During high school he did his certificate I and II in transport and since leaving school has worked in the industry as a driver and in a transport yard.
Now he needs insurance to drive interstate, but because of his age the insurance company he was with saw him as a liability. Mr Linsley has a HC licence and recently had a crash, that's when his insurance was cancelled, he said if he was over 25-years-old the company would have kept up his cover.
"NTI (National Transport Insurance) is saying you have to be no younger than 25 with a three-year driving history before they insure you.
"How do you get the experience without insurance?" Mr Linsley asked.
Mr Linsley said apart from that incident he has a clean driving record.
T&G Insurance Brokers managing director Michael Stevenson said it was a concern for some insurance companies to cover truck drivers under the age of 25.
"They don't have much experience and they are concerned it may lead to an incident," he said.
But at T&G young people are considered on individual merit, Mr Stevenson said.
"We've got young people on our books. Being that young, the premiums are always higher."
He said about three or four companies insured younger drivers with a higher excess.
Drivers would have to jump through a couple of hoops, however, and provide insurance companies with a driver's declaration form and a five-year printout of their driving history from their state's transport body.
But Mr Stevenson said it would be hard to insure a young driver for interstate work in a refrigerated semi, because of their worth.
"The biggest problem is the industry has a bad image. People that drive trucks have families and 90% are genuine hard-working good people, just trying to make a quid," he said.
"They're trying to do their job and drive 10 to 12 hours on the highways, they've got to get somewhere."
Mr Stevenson said there should be a push by the government to help people into the industry, as a lot of good operators had been lost to mining. And the average age of truckies was 56 years old.
"We need to look at bringing young people in."
He suggested a school-based apprenticeship to become a truck driver, which would make it much easier for young blokes to get into driving as a career.