FMCSA moves forward with under 21 truck driver pilot program

Voices

Today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially announced their intentions to move forward with a plan that would allow teenagers to operate commercial vehicle interstate by asking for public comment on the pilot program.

Last summer, the FMCSA launched a pilot program allowing 18 — 20 year olds with military driving experience to operate interstate.

On Tuesday, May 14, the FMCSA requested public comment on a second pilot program for under 21 truck drivers without military experience.

The FMCSA notice says that, “Today’s action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.  FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.”

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety.  We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

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The FMCSA is requesting comments on the following questions:

*What data are currently available on the safety performance (e.g. crash involvement, etc.) of 18-20-year-old drivers operating CMVs in intrastate commerce?

*Are there concerns about obtaining insurance coverage for drivers under 21 who operate CMVs in intrastate commerce, and would these challenges be greater for interstate operations?

*What is the minimum driving experience that should be required for a driver to be admitted to a pilot?

*What kind of supervision, and how much, should be required for drivers under 21 in a pilot?

*Should there be any specific training / qualification requirements for mentors, supervisors or co-drivers? If so, what type of training or qualifications?

*Should FMCSA require that participating motor carriers establish a formal apprenticeship program according to Department of Labor Standards? If so, why?

*Should there be time or distance restrictions on younger drivers? If so, what should these be and why?

*Should younger drivers have more limited hours of service, such as a maximum of 8 hours of driving each day? If so, what limits should be applied and why?

*Should younger drivers be prohibited from transporting hazardous materials, passengers, and/or operating tank vehicles or oversize/overweight vehicles? Should there be other restrictions?

*What safety standards should participating drivers have to meet? Are the requirements from the Under 21 Military Pilot program appropriate?

*What action(s) should the Agency consider taking if drivers in this pilot program are convicted of violations while operating in interstate commerce?

*At what point should FMCSA remove a driver or motor carrier from a pilot program?

*Should FMCSA include requirements for safety equipment or on-board recording systems in a pilot program for younger CMV drivers? If so, what equipment and why?

You can learn more about the pilot program and how to leave a comment by clicking here.

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