This week the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that they would be moving forward with a pilot program that will allow certain 18 to 21 year old military veterans or reservists to operate commercial vehicles interstate.
The pilot program was officially announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao at an event in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday, July 3.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao visited Omaha on Tuesday to announce a new pilot program to help qualified young veterans get jobs in the trucking industry without additional training. https://t.co/EPoJr4Osxk
— Omaha World-Herald (@OWHnews) July 4, 2018
Chao remarked, “This program will allow our Veterans and Reservists, to translate their extensive training into good-paying jobs operating commercial vehicles safely across the country, while also addressing the nationwide driver shortage.”
According to a news release from the DOT, “As directed by Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the pilot program will grant a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate large trucks in interstate commerce – provided they possess the Military equivalent of a CDL and are sponsored by a participating trucking company.” The FMCSA promises to uphold “strict safety standards” while conducting the pilot program.
After three years, the safety records of the 18 to 21 year old interstate CDL drivers will be compared to a control group of interstate CDL drivers aged 21 to 24. The FMCSA will then be required to report to Congress on their findings and to provide suggestions on changes to current regulations.
A public comment period will precede the implementation of the pilot program.