One of the last two states that forbid drivers under 21 years of age from operating commercial vehicles intrastate has passed a bill to will now allow 18 — 20 year olds to drive trucks — as long as they stay within Alabama state lines.
On Wednesday, May 15, lawmakers in Alabama passed a bill lowering the intrastate CMV driving age from 21 to 18 years of age. The bill would forbid truck drivers under the age of 21 from hauling hazmat loads or oversized loads that require a permit.
The bill and current federal law both forbid drivers under 21 from operating across state lines.
The bill argues for under 21 truck drivers because of a lack of workers who are “willing and qualified to operate commercial vehicles” in the state of Alabama:
“The Legislature finds that current economic conditions are such that the number of individuals willing and qualified to operate commercial vehicles is insufficient in relation to the volume of freight available, and that it will be advantageous, consistent with Commercial Driver License safety rules, for this state to issue Class A commercial driver licenses to persons who have reached the age 20 of 18 years and have not yet reached the age of 21 years and who otherwise meet the requirements imposed by state and federal law to obtain a commercial driver license for use only in intrastate commerce.”
The bill is set to go into effect on February 7, 2020.
Hawaii is the only other state that forbids interstate operation of a CMV for drivers under the age of 21.
The bill’s passage comes the same week that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they are seeking public comment about a proposed pilot program that would allow 18 to 20 year olds without military driving experience to operate CMVs interstate.