Steps Taken to Lower CDL Driving Age

Lindsey Bergeron

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!

File Your UCR Now

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.

6 thoughts on “Steps Taken to Lower CDL Driving Age”

  1. First the ATA is just the mouthpiece of the big trucking companies. Who’s CEOS are blinded by Satan’s Greed!! So safety means nothing to them. Remember this an industry that owns it fair share of politicians. Blow all the smoke you want. Money talks safety walks.

  2. Yet, they talk about the body bags being lined up like cordwood, when there is talk of matching truck speed limits to that of cars, Gee ALL traffic having the SAME Speed Limit is Dangerous, BUT letting INEXPERIENCED Drivers drive a Tractor Trailer, is a GOOD Idea???? 2 years driving an Automobile, does NOT give a driver enough experience to transition to tractor trailer, VERY BAD IDEA,

    If you want to SOLVE the Driver “Shortage” PAY a DECENT WAGE, all it takes is Money, NOT LIVES

    1. KD Phillips, I AGREE!!! Maturity level is not there at all yet at that age. I’m all for the older workforce, maturity level coupled with experience of many years.

  3. I think that if an 18 year old driver is given a CDL, he or she should be only allowed to drive medium duty trucks and/or buses for the first 2 years. They need at least 2 years medium duty truck experience before they get behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. An exception would be allowed for kids who worked in an environment where they drove non-CDL medium duty trucks for 2 years.
    There is another option – to allow those who have CDLs to be able to drive their personal vehicles without infractions going on their CDL. I have a friend – who never drove a CDL vehicle drunk – but he’s got two or three DUIs from a tough time in his life – now he can’t have a CDL. He has been sober for several years, but he cannot get a CDL license (his job as a mechanic required a CDL)! He was FORCED out of the trucking industry due to personal vehicle infractions. That is ABSOLUTELY wrong!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *