Bill could lower commercial drivers’ age for interstate work

As the trucking industry struggles due to a shortage of drivers, many industry professionals are turning to teens to take on these positions. Is that a good idea, though? Many think it is not.

An April 10 report states that new legislation could make it possible for those under the age of 21 to take over driving jobs across state borders. Right now, federal law prevents commercial drivers under the age of 21 from crossing state borders. Anyone may obtain a license to be a commercial driver as early as 18 years of age, but federal laws limit how far they may travel as they learn to drive these vehicles.

Legislators backing changes in Indiana suggest that this is common sense. It would open up more jobs for teens emerging from high school. They wouldn’t need to take on college debt or fight to find a place in a difficult job market.

The legislation does address some fears by requiring younger truck drivers to be placed on two probationary periods and to receive additional training before taking on interstate jobs.

Presently, the American Trucking Association (ATA) believes that there will be a shortage of around 174,000 drivers by 2026 if nothing changes in hiring practices.

Whether or not it’s a good idea will come down to the decision of lawmakers who could approve or deny the legislation. If approved, it won’t be long before people see more young drivers on the roads handling commercial vehicles. It’s something to watch out for, since these vehicles are already significantly more dangerous than others on the roads.

Source: Washington Examiner, “Trucking industry pushes teen drivers to fill big rig shortage,” Diana Stancy Correll, April 10, 2018

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