fbpx Skip to content
FMCSA to Lower Age Req. for Truck Driver

Federal Regulators Consider Lowering Age Requirement for Semi-Truck Drivers

Table of Contents

The new pilot program for teenage truck drivers is an attempt by the federal government to ease supply chain issues related to interstate driving.

The federal government is moving forward with a plan to let teenagers drive big rigs from state to state in a test program.

Currently, truckers who cross state lines must be at least 21 years old, but an apprenticeship program required by Congress to help ease supply chain backlogs would let 18-to-20-year-old truckers drive outside their home states.

The pilot program, detailed Thursday in a proposed regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, would screen the teens, barring any with driving-while-impaired violations or traffic tickets for causing a crash.

But safety advocates say the program runs counter to data showing that younger drivers get in more crashes than older ones. They say it’s unwise to let teenage truck drivers be responsible for rigs that can weigh 80,000 pounds and cause catastrophic damage when they hit lighter vehicles.

The apprenticeship pilot program was required by Congress as part of the infrastructure bill signed into law Nov. 15. It requires the FMCSA, which is part of the Transportation Department, to start the program within 60 days.

Shortage of Truck Drivers Leads to a New Program

The American Trucking Associations, a large industry trade group, supports the measure as a way to help with a shortage of truck drivers. The group estimates that the nation is running over 80,000 truck drivers short of the number it needs, as demand to move freight reaches historic highs.

Under the apprenticeship, younger drivers can cross state lines during 120-hour and 280-hour probationary periods, as long as an experienced truck driver is in the passenger seat. Trucks used in the program have to have an electronic braking crash mitigation system, a forward facing video camera, and their speeds must be limited to 65 mph.

After probation, they can drive on their own, but companies have to monitor their performance until they are 21. No more than 3,000 apprentices can take part in the training at any given time.

The FMCSA must reach out to carriers with excellent safety records to take part in the program, according to the Transportation Department.

The program will run for up to three years, and the motor carrier agency has to turn in a report to Congress analyzing the safety record of the teen drivers and making a recommendation on whether the younger drivers are as safe as those 21 or older. Congress could expand the program with new laws.

The test is part of a broader set of measures from the Biden administration to deal with the trucker shortage and improve working conditions for truck drivers.

FMCSA to Lower Age Req. for Truck Driver

In a statement, Nick Geale, vice president of workforce safety for the trucking associations, noted 49 states and Washington, D.C., already allow truck drivers under 21 to drive semis, but they can’t pick up a load just across a state line.

“This program creates a rigorous safety training program, requiring an additional 400 hours of advanced safety training, in which participants are evaluated against specific performance benchmarks,” Geale said. The program will ensure that the industry has enough drivers to meet growing freight demands, he said.

But Peter Kurdock, general counsel for Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, said federal data shows that younger drivers have far higher crash rates than older ones. “This is no surprise to any American who drives a vehicle,” he said. In fact, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety predict the program will result in the increase of Truck accidents in the U.S. and directly cause more truck accident fatalities.

Putting teenagers behind the wheel of trucks that can weigh up to 40 tons when loaded increases the possibility of mass casualty crashes, he said.

Kurdock said the trucking industry has wanted younger truck drivers for years and used supply chain issues to get it into the infrastructure bill. He fears the industry will use skewed data from the program to push for teenage truckers nationwide.

If you or a family member have been injured in a truck accident in the last 2 years, contact McKay Law for a free case evaluation. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can be reached at (903) 999-2653 or submit your case for a free case review. McKay Law boldly represents its clients ensuring your interests are protected and you obtain the maximum compensation available under the law.

About McKay Law

Caleb Moore
Caleb Moore
Read More
This business does truly care about their clients and their needs! They have an amazing staff, and are one of the best places in the area for sure!
Amy Patterson
Amy Patterson
Read More
McKay Law and Attorney Lindsay McKay were extremely prompt with in helping me with my wreck! She is very knowledgeable of the law!
Alexandra Serrano
Alexandra Serrano
Read More
She, was very helpful she gonna fights for your right !!! Awesome lawyer and company’s 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Carmen Montoya
Carmen Montoya
Read More
Lindsey and her team were very professional! I am so thankful to have had them work on my case.
Jenny Wakeland
Jenny Wakeland
Read More
Mrs. McKay treats her employees well. She is knowledgeable, professional and trustworthy. She truly cares about her clients.
Cobbie Johnson
Cobbie Johnson
Read More
Very professional greatest law firm I’ve ever worked with.

Why McKay Law?

Lindsey McKay | Sulphur Springs Personal Injury Lawyer | McKay Law – Legally Bold
McKay Law | Legally Bold | Personal Injury Lawyer

Passion For Justice – Compassion For Clients

Compassion. Confidence. Commitment.

$500+

Millions in recoveries for our clients.

10,000 +

More than 10,000 cases closed and settled for our clients.

20 +

20+ years of combined experience with of counsel addition.

Reasons to Hire
McKay Law

VIP / White Glove Service | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

VIP / White Glove Service

We are Available 24/7 - We take care of our client’s needs – whatever they may be – and advise and instruct from beginning to end.

We Care | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

We Care

We hope to change your life and your situation and turn something tragic into something better. No issue is too tiny for us to consider or too big for us to tackle.

We Listen to Learn Your Story | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

We Listen to Learn Your Story

Injuries, pain, stress of life, the case, finances – We want to know you and be the voice to tell your story and MAXIMIZE results.

Any Legal Issue | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

Any Legal Issue

We are legally bold to help you. If we can’t address, we know the best.

Maximize Case Value | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

Maximize Case Value

We will ensure we get you the most money possible.

No Fee Unless We Win | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

No Fee

Unless we win and also NO FEE for handling property damage.

Over 40 Years of Service | Reasons to Hire McKay Law

20+ Years of Combined Experience

We have a long line of success and a team that has worked together for decades and has perfected and streamlined the process; making something stressful and painful as seamless and easy as possible.

Dedicated Nurse to Guide You | McKay Law

Dedicated Nurse to Guide Medical Treatment

McKay Law has an in-house specialist guiding our personal injury clients on medical treatment. Read more about our Texas Nursing Board Certified Nurse and How We Assist.

Accident & Injury Lawyers

No Fees Unless We Win.

We Listen to Our Clients.

We are dedicated trial attorneys with the experience and drive to get maximum compensation for our clients. We handle personal injury cases that involve the following matters: drunk driving accidents, nursing home negligence, uninsured or underinsured motorists, motor vehicle accidents, sexual abuse, product liability, auto defects, animal bites, work-related injuries, medical negligence and fatalities.
1 Step 1

Free Consultation 24/7

You may be owed money. 

Call our Personal Injury Lawyer now: (903) 999-2653 or use the form below. You can also calculate your total damages for settlements.

keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right
FormCraft - WordPress form builder