This week, lawmakers reintroduced legislation to allow 18 to 21 year olds to drive commercial vehicles interstate.
The bill, known as the DRIVE-Safe Act, was reintroduced in both the House and the Senate by Senators Todd Young and Jon Tester on February 26. The bill would change federal law that currently prohibits 18 to 21 year olds from driving a commercial vehicles across state lines, allowing under 21 CDL holders to operate interstate.
Young and Tester say that the bill is intended to combat the perceived “truck driver shortage.”
The DRIVE-Safe Act would work by establishing an apprenticeship training program for under-21-CDL holders. Lawmakers promise that this training program would “ensure these drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks.”
From a press release from the office of Senator Young:
The apprenticeship program established by the DRIVE-Safe Act would require young drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, a video event capture system, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.
A nearly identical DRIVE-Safe Act was introduced in August of 2018 but stalled before becoming law.
Earlier this month, the state of Colorado signed a bill into law that will allow 18 to 21 year olds to operate interstate as soon as — and if — the federal law changes.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports the bill and for years has called for changes to the law to allow younger truck drivers to operate interstate.
The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) has long opposed the idea of teen truckers for safety reasons and because they say that there is no truck driver shortage.