The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comments on a potential pilot program that would allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. Currently, federal law only allows commercial drivers license (CDL) holders 21 and older to drive in interstate operations.
In July 2018, USDOT announced the details of the Commercial Driver Pilot Program required under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows certain 18- to 20-year-olds with military training to drive CMVs across state lines. This latest action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
According to the May 15th announcement, FMCSA is requesting comments specifically on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that the Agency should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.
"We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety. We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers," said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.
It is estimated that the commercial transportation industry has a shortage of at least 50,000 drivers. Some industry experts suggest that younger drivers could help mitigate the driver shortage by tapping into a larger pool of prospective career drivers.
A full list of questions FMCSA is seeking comments on and the procedures to file comments can be found in the Federal Register document. Comments must be received on or before July 15, 2019.
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