18 Year Old Truckers May be Common on the Road Soon

Posted by Melissa Bennett | June 30, 2015 | blog
18 Year Old Truckers May be Common on the Road Soon

A new bill proposed by Deb Fischer would allow licensed drivers as young as 18 years old drive across state lines, thus making them viable candidates for the trucking jobs that transportation companies desperately need filled. “ATA estimates that the current shortage of drivers is roughly 35,000 to 40,000, but because of retirements and individuals leaving the industry, trucking companies will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers a year over the next decade to keep pace with the country’s freight needs.”

The Commercial Driver Act would establish a pilot program to determine whether drivers under the age of 21 are able to safely and reliably travel outside their home states.

This move could potentially solve the trucker shortage in the industry. A major reason for the shortage is because high school students who might be interested in a job on the open road are ineligible for such jobs and are likely to start training for other well paid jobs like plumbing, construction, or sanitation. For more on this phenomena, see our article about the driver shortage.

Making transportation jobs accessible to high school graduates, opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The aging trucking force might be resolved for good if this bill passes. The trucking shortage would finally have a change to turn around and new jobs would be created for potential 18 year old truckers who are willing to put in the long hours and hard work that trucking demands.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says “It is illogical that a 20-year-old can drive the 500 miles from San Francisco to San Diego, but not the eight miles from Memphis, Tennessee to West Memphis, Arkansas – or simply cross the street in Texarkana. Even more illogical is that a 20-year-old may not drive a truck in any state if the cargo in it originated outside the state or will eventually leave the state by some other means.”

According to trucking.org, “the ATA estimates that the current shortage of drivers is roughly 35,000 to 40,000, but because of retirements and individuals leaving the industry, trucking companies will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers a year over the next decade to keep pace with the country’s freight needs.”

Could the new bill be the answer to the driver shortage or is it an open invitation for safety violations and higher insurance rates? What do you think? @fleetcleanusa

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