APRIL 2, 2019 – How young is too young to operate a commercial motor vehicle?
It’s a question that is sparking much debate in the industry. Some, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), support legislation that would lower the driving age to 18 for interstate drivers as a way to combat the current driver shortage. Their argument is that many young people start thinking about their careers around the age of 18, but as the law stands now, they wouldn’t be able to actually get behind the wheel for another three years. This leads many to choose a different career path instead – perhaps not revisiting the idea of trucking until much later in life (if at all).
Although critics have expressed concern over the safety implications of allowing younger drivers to operate heavy vehicles, the plan would be to provide more training before they’re allowed to drive on their own. The idea behind it is similar to the pilot program that began last fall which lets certain military personnel who are between the ages of 18 and 20 drive commercial motor vehicles because of their training and experience operating heavy vehicles.
After failing to gain the needed support last year, a bill was reintroduced into the Senate that would lower the interstate driving age to 18.
As a show of support for these changes, Colorado just passed a law that would allow drivers as young as 18-years-old to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. Before they’re able to do so, however, changes must be made at the federal level.
What are your thoughts about lowering the CDL driving age? Leave your comments below!
About the Author
Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.