The Truckload Carriers Assn. has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to approve a pilot program allowing fleets to hire 18- to 20-year olds for interstate driving. The government wants your input before making a decision. Current regulations stipulate that drivers must be 21 years of age. Following is a summary of the program:

  • A minimum of 48 weeks of classroom training, driving instruction and supervision, including 22 weeks at a truck-driver training school and 8 weeks in a carrier's “driver refinishing” program, and 18 weeks of team driving with an experienced driver.

  • Younger drivers can't drive alone until they pass the performance standards of the entire program and reach the age of 19.

  • All drivers, training schools and carriers participating in the pilot program would be closely monitored by FMCSA.

Basically, FMCSA wants to know whether you think this program could “ensure a level of safety equal to or greater than ⅒ commercial motor vehicle drivers 21 years of age or older who are not subject to specialized selection, training and monitoring beyond that otherwise required by the CDL.”

Send your written comments to: USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-2000-8410, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington D.C. 20590-0001. The deadline is May 21, 2001.