FMCSA examines opening interstate trucking to younger drivers
An FMCSA Federal Register notice requests comments on a new pilot program that would allow 18- to 20-year-old drivers to operate in interstate commerce with some limitations.
A new federal pilot program would permit younger drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comments on the proposal that would open up more truck driving jobs to 18, 19 and 20 year olds.
Federal regulations currently prohibit commercial drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21. But younger professional drivers are permitted to drive long distances within their home states. In 2019, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced the DRIVE-Safe Act, which would open up interstate trucking to drivers before they turn 21.
The Ameican Trucking Associations and International Foodservice Distributors of America have been working together to promote the legislation, which is co-sponsored by 144 representatives and 34 senators. The legislation is also backed more than 90 other national trade associations and companies, according to the ATA. Similar legislation by the previous Congress failed to advance in 2018.
The pilot program would allow the FMCSA to “carefully examine the safety, feasibility, and possible economic benefits of allowing 18 to 20-year-old drivers to operate in interstate commerce,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck, who recently became the agency’s acting administrator. “Safety is always FMCSA’s top priority, so we encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review this proposed new pilot program and share their thoughts and opinions.”
By: American Trucker Magazine- Josh Fisher