Leaders at the American Trucking Associations thanked the Trump administration, including Secretary Elaine Chao, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for moving ahead with a proposed pilot program to allow in-state licensed commercial drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate commercial vehicles across state lines.
“This is a significant step toward improving safety on our nation’s roads, setting a standard for these drivers that is well beyond what 49 states currently require,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This is an amazing block of talent with unlimited potential. If our freedom can be defended from tyranny around the world by our men in women in uniform, many well below the age of 21, then it’s quite clear that we can train that same group how to safely and responsibly cross state lines in a commercial vehicle.”
FMCSA’s announced pilot program is modeled on the bipartisan DRIVE Safe Act, legislation strongly supported by ATA and more than 90 other industry groups and currently co-sponsored by 144 congressmen and 34 senators.
“For years, ATA has made the case to the Transportation Department and lawmakers that trucking can safely bring these younger professional drivers into our industry fully,” said ATA Executive Vice President for Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “With strong support from both sides of the aisle and on and off the Hill, it is clear that moving forward with a pilot program is an important step to bringing 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds into our industry safely and responsibly.”
“As an industry, we need to find new ways to connect with potential new drivers,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight. “By providing young people the opportunity to fully participate in the financially rewarding and dynamic world of trucking, we will be in a better position to bring in a new generation of valuable talent to our industry.”
“Using good data, not emotions, is an important part of good policymaking,” Spear said. “We appreciate Secretary Chao and Deputy Administrator Deck proposing this pilot program and asking for comments on their proposal so we can have good data on this important issue. The proposal has a 60 day comment period, and ATA will be providing supportive comments on FMCSA’s proposal.”