The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is speaking out against the FMCSA’s attempt to start a second pilot program that would allow under-21 drivers to operate heavy-duty trucks in interstate commerce.
On May 15, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments regarding a pilot program that would allow nonmilitary 18- to 20-year-olds to drive interstate. In July 2018, FMCSA published a notice announcing the details of a program that would allow younger drivers with military training to operate in interstate commerce.
Current federal regulations restrict 18- to 20-year-olds to intrastate driving.
“The decision by the FMCSA to propose a pilot program that would lower the commercial driver’s license restriction from 21 to 18 is of grave concern to those who use the roadways as their workplace every day,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said in a statement.
Hoffa added that the FAST Act approved a pilot program specifically for military veterans.
“FMCSA was told it could do so in a highly controlled manner using only veterans and other members of the military who had experience during their time in the service,” he said. “That safeguard was an important step toward counteracting the enormous safety risks inherent with having teenagers running tractor trailers across long distances. Ignoring that decision and unilaterally deciding to explore a much broader pilot program represents a dismissive wave of the hand to the will of Congress.”
FMCSA will accept comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems the agency should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program until July 15. Comments can be submitted here.