After the FMCSA announced a major new pilot program to allow teen truckers to operate interstate, many truck drivers sounded off about the possible consequences — both good and bad — in a recent poll.
The FMCSA this month announced a pilot program to lower the interstate driving age to 18. Currently, an interstate CDL holder must be at least 21 years of age or older. If the pilot program is a success, the age may be lowered to 18. While many in the industry think that lowering the age will help solve the growing “driver shortage,” truck drivers say it’s the wrong move.
The program proposed on September 4 would allow 18 — 20 year old drivers to participate in the pilot if they meet one of the following two conditions:
- 18 to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer.
- 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles.
To complete the 280 hour probationary period described in condition 1, an employer must ensure that the younger driver is competent in each of the following areas:
- Backing and maneuvering in close quarters
- Pre-trip inspections
- Fueling procedures
- Weighing loads, weight distribution, and sliding tandems
- Coupling and uncoupling procedure
- Trip planning, truck routes, map reading, navigation, and permits
Pilot program participants would not be allowed to operate vehicles transporting passengers or hazmat.
CDLLife posted a poll on the topic on the CDLLife App. Out of more than 1,000 responses, 83% of drivers said that they do not feel the interstate driving age should be lowered to 18. Only 17% of drivers said the interstate driving age should be lowered.
Many of the respondents voiced concerns about already skyrocketing insurance rates, short driver-training programs, maturity, and driver wages.
However, some drivers said that with the proper training, they would support lowering the interstate driving age.
For more information on the pilot program, please click here.